My Mother’s Slippers

The following is an ode to the sounds of mothering inspired by my mom’s distinctive stride through our home over the years … I hear the same sounds in my own feet now. 

I wrote this in honour of her birthday – she would have been 96. It seemed apropos to share in my May newsletter for Mother’s Day – even if it’s a bit late.


There’s a certain shuffle-glide.

A heft,  a stride, a weight, a momentum as I hear my mother’s slippers move across the kitchen floor –

– an echo in the cadence of my own feet as I move between kitchen and basement, hitting each stair only to forget at the bottom what I came for –  every. single. time .

I know the pace, the rhythm, the energy of a mother on a mission to get coffee on,  breakfast and lunches made, radio turned up.

I hear the vibration of urgency  – clock ticking before everyone is up and sudden jolt of silence when the last one leaves for school.

The slippers make one more trip to the laundry room to get a load started and see if there are any cookies left in the freezer. Nope. A curse.

Back up the stairs  – THUMP THUMP THUMP –  Saturday mornings –  the timing feels more like a drill of guilt. Get up, get busy. I’m busy. Get up. Get busy.

My heart beats to the slippers, always moving.

Always housework to do, laundry to fold, handkerchiefs to iron – sewing projects provide a different quality of humming even though the slippers are momentarily still.

Clattering dishes complement the slipper dance.

Pots banging and bubbling as they provide porridge, pasta, tomato soup or carefully timed soft-boiled eggs.

There’s no quiet in my mother’s life.

Perhaps that’s why she slowly went deaf –  to smother the sound of her sighs as she hit the couch after supper – where she began clacking knitting needles to produce another sweater, an afghan, a baby blanket.

Another noisy act of love.

I’m grateful for all of it – the commitment of the daily shuffle – the boring, the mundane,  the repetitive –  the sound of love expressed in every scraped carrot and peeled potato. Every surface dusted.

I know my mother’s slippers are the sounds of love matched in every slipper step I take through my own mothering days.

And still, I hear what she can’t hear.

I hear what she could not:  A moment of silence not not imposed by deafness.

My slippers take one step, two steps, maybe many more, to express a love of quiet, a love of peace, a love of Life Beyond Doing – the sound of slippers at rest.

Her gift to me, my gift to her.

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