Each day I stand outside STEM Elementary to pick up the kids I nanny, I see the same moms, shuffling up in yoga pants and parkas, North Face fleeces, trousers, boots of all fuzzy shapes and sizes. When I’m placed in a situation like this where all the moms know each other and I am the brand new nanny on the scene, sort of incognito and able to blend into the brick, it feels sort of necessary, or, say, mandated that I people-watch my brains out. It’s my civic duty to do so, or at least that’s the way I see it. So I do. I watch all the moms, all sorts of moms, all very nondescript mom-ish in their demeanor and appearance, their chatting together, glancing every so often at the playground where all the children wallop each other (my, they play rough these days!). I know them all, I see them all, I have little names for them in my head and I try to eavesdrop on conversations, only sometimes.
And then there’s clog mom.
You know when you see someone somewhere and even just the sight of them hits you in a certain way? Like you know them, and they know you? Like you and they are the same, somehow? That’s how I feel about clog mom.
First of all, she is beautiful, like all glowy and dewey. Beautiful in a really simple human way. She’s the sort of person who smiles when she talks to people, like she can’t help it, like she just loves to smile. She has this fantastic longish brown hair that she sometimes wears in a bun on the very tippy top of her head and sometimes she wears it in milkmaid braids criss crossed across the tippy top of her head, and I think that’s the best.
She wears great clothes, mostly in the hews of black and grey and navy, except now that it’s winter she wears a grey coat, yes, but she tops it with a very fabulous chartreuse knit scarf, which I have to say was a surprising and delightful development. She wears stripes, she wears solids, she wears great skinny jeans that are not at all too inappropriately tight, and, best of all, she wears great clogs.
That’s what clinched it for me. The clogs. She was all-together wonderful already, and the clogs were the cream cheese icing on the spice cake. Simple, perfect black clogs that she wears every day. I love clog mom.
She also has six gorgeous children, five girls and a boy, all blonde and glowing just as much as their mom. All dressed in very good kid clothing, just the right amount of color, and fantastic boots, I’m sure passed down from kid to kid. One of the girls is literally a carbon copy of clog mom. They could be inter-generational twins.
I don’t watch her creepily, although it may seem like I do from this account. No, I just notice her. I see her choices, her likes and dislikes, her aesthetic preferences, her love of life and her family, and I appreciate her deeply for these things. She and I, we are the same somehow, or at least I feel like we are, because I don’t think I’d notice her so much if we weren’t. And, secretly, I hope she notices me too.
I wish I could be friends with clog mom, hear her stories, drink coffee with her every now and again, walk to her house, know her kids names and hers too for that matter. But I don’t think we will ever be friends. In fact, I don’t think I’ll even ever speak to her. It’s unspoken for now, and maybe I like it that way.
I think someday I may be quite like her, with clogs and stripes, hair piled on top of my head, a team of great kids, a blonde baby on my hip, and a perfectly surprising chartreuse scarf. We will see. For now, I see clog mom, and I notice her. Each day, I notice her. And, in doing so, I remember to notice myself, too, even just a tiny bit more than I usually do. Every time I wear my own clogs, I feel just a bit more like clog mom, just a bit more like myself. I stand a little taller. I smile a little more. Noticing. It’s a good thing.
Here are my clogs, my favorite things to put on my feet, in many places across this fair city. I wear them for you, clog mom!!
Thanks for being great, Clog Mom. I’m your biggest secret fan.