When I was little, I went to a lot of friends’ houses that had some very curious hardware on book shelves. The items were bronzed baby shoes. They sometimes were bronzed and put into new service as matched book ends, and sometimes they were bronzed and set on each side of a photo of a baby. I used to wonder why these baby shoes were so prized…what was it that made people encase baby shoes for eternity?
But now I know…those baby boots were bronzed to celebrate the mobility and motion of a new human being on the planet. The day you stood upright. The day you took your first step. The day you became mobile, independent, and moved through the world on two feet.
Somewhere, somehow walking, this tremendous ability to move independently on two feet has become less celebrated. Ask a Millennial how old they were when they first walked. They won’t know. Ask a person from the Baby Boom generation when they first walked. They will know.
So what happened to all of those bronzed baby shoes? And how in four decades did the independent act of walking become less celebratory?