Please tell me that I’m not the only parent who spends school mornings tearing around the house like some fiery comet of stress. It’s not easy getting 3 very dependent children fed, watered, dressed, brushed, shoe-d, coat-ed, fed again, out the door and strapped into the car in time for the morning bell. It’s even less easy when you add an MS monster into the mix; a monster who is intent on dragging you down so that even the simplest of tasks becomes a challenge of marathon, or at least half-marathon, proportions. As I was doing a final sweep of the house this morning to ensure that I had everything required for the school day (lunch boxes, water bottles, raincoats, bookbags and teddy for teddy-bear week) I could feel my feet struggling to keep up with me. It’s common for people with MS to feel weighed down by their arms, legs or feet to the point where they question whether or not someone has actually managed to attach weights to their limbs when they weren’t looking. This morning, amid the bustle of the routine, my feet felt as though they had been clamped into concrete. Having slipped on my trusty Converse shoes ready to leave the house I found myself having to lift each leg up with my hands just to make it across the drive. For a long time I have rather suspected that Converse shoes are the enemy of heavy, numb feet. They are so flippin’ heavy that putting them on feels like I’m adding a weight to an already weighed down barbell. And yet I still insist on wearing them.
I first discovered a love of Converse during my student days back in 2003 – the year the brand made a huge resurgence that has kept them flying high as the trendiest of trendy footwear. Being a very practical person, I usually put practicality above fashion, but those clunky shoes have somehow remained a staple of my shoe-wearing diet. However, this morning as I sat in the car and revved too heavily on the accelerator, I knew that my Converse-wearing days were numbered.
As soon as I’d unbundled the eldest 2 kids into their classrooms I hit the rush-hour traffic and headed into the city on a mission to source the lightest sneaker I could find. Parking up as close as my blue badge would allow to the shops, I loaded my unusually compliant toddler into his buggy and rocked into the nearest super-fly shoe shop. I suppose I must have looked a curious sight as I moved along the shelves weighing each shoe in my hands, but I was soon rescued by one of the friendliest shop assistants I have ever met. His unwavering patience as I sent him back and forth between the store and the stockroom in search of the perfect shoe with the perfect fit was remarkable. Working together we narrowed the selection down to 2 shoes – New Balance (I could really do with a new balance!) and Skechers. I decided that the Skechers had the edge on bouncy weightlessness, which amused my shop assistant hero, who said, “I imagine you need all the bounce you can get if you’re running around after 3 kids!” I figured that it was easier to nod in agreement rather than spoil the mood by confiding that I can’t actually ‘run’ anywhere. It’s always rather liberating to pretend to be ‘normal’.
As I sit here admiring my new super-light footwear, I literally feel as though a weight has been lifted from me. Why the heck didn’t I do this sooner?! Perhaps my skinny-jeans are the next thing to go – given that they make the strangled, shrink-wrapped feeling in my legs even more pronounced.
In case anyone has the same level of quirky curiosity as me, my old Converse shoes weighed in at 400 g (14 oz) – my new shoes weigh 200 g (7 oz)…