Just for Fun

By Maura Troy

Every year my mother always made sure my brothers and sisters and I had a terrific Christmas. As we got older, in addition to the lovely sweaters she would hand knit for us, and the other items she would buy, Mom started adding gifts that were, in her words, “just for fun:” A ridiculous looking pair of pajamas here, a Chia Pet there. One year, she brought back a brick of turf from Ireland and presented it to one of my sisters. “There’s nothing like a turf fire,” she declared, ever proud of her bucolic upbringing in the Irish countryside. Be it turf or a Chia Pet, these gifts were always received with giggles or eye-rolls or good natured groans of “Oh, Mom.”

A few years ago, I opened one of my presents and discovered a pair of bedroom slippers. “Those are just for fun, Maura,” my mother called across the crowded living room when she saw what I held.

“Thanks, Mom. They are fun.”

“You don’t really have to wear them,” she laughed.

But I knew I would. They were simple black slippers with an open toe. The “fun” part was the blood red artificial rose and boa feathers attached to the band across the toes. Even thought the slippers were flat, they were totally reminiscent of those fancy high heeled slippers worn by those glamorous movie starlets of the 1920s and 30s. You know the ones I mean, those wonderfully elegant creatures with perfectly coiffed hair and totally un-smudged lipstick, ensconced in lavish art deco bedrooms and bedecked in sumptuous, alluring nightwear that would rival anything worn on today’s red carpets.

Even though I’ve always enjoyed outdoor activities, I’ve always been a bit of a girly-girl – interested in make-up and fashion. But it was still somewhat of a surprise to me how much I fell in love with these slippers. At the earliest opportunity I went and got a pedicure, choosing a deep red nail polish to match the rose. I sashayed around the house on Sunday mornings, lifting my foot and proclaiming to my husband he was married to a movie star. Silly, I know, but it made us both laugh.

Silly or not, those slippers made me feel beautiful. There was just something about starting and ending each day by slipping my feet into such a playfully exotic pair of footwear. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s all too easy to overlook doing something to make yourself feel special. So why not give one’s self a small daily dose of whimsy and glamour?

About a year ago my mother came to stay with us for a weekend. When she spotted me wearing the slippers, she exclaimed in disbelief,” You still have those? They were just for fun.”

“They are fun, Mom. And that’s exactly why I still have them.”

The slippers were beginning to look a little worse for wear at that point, so Mom made it her mission to find me another pair. Any time we spoke on the phone she would inform me she hadn’t forgotten about them and was still searching. Unfortunately, she’d ordered them from a now defunct catalogue so she was unsuccessful in her quest before she fell ill and passed away last fall.

When the heel of one of the slippers broke off last week, I reluctantly had to admit the slippers were no longer usable. This made me very sad as it was another reminder of how much I will miss my mother. But then I thought about it and realized that Mom would never let something like that get her down – especially since there was a solution. The slippers themselves may have deteriorated, but the rose and boa feathers are still as vivid and perky as the day I got them.

Off I went to the mall and picked up a pair of plain black open toed slippers. Back home, a half an hour spent with a scissors, some thread and a hot glue gun yielded me a nice new pair of glamour girl slippers. The “just for fun” part of Mom’s original gift lives on.

And that makes me smile every day.

About this writer

  • Maura Troy Maura Troy lives in Connecticut and is president of her local chapter of Romance Writers of America. She enjoys writing, knitting and hiking, and is currently working on a novel of romantic suspense. Visit Maura on her website at mauratroy.com.

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20 Responses to “Just for Fun”

  1. Selena says:

    Maura, I think we must be sisters, or at least cousins. My mom was like this too. She shopped all year long to get the right gift, something special I would treasure.

    Hugs on missing your mom. I know how you feel.

  2. Terri-Lynne says:

    This is beautiful, and so poignant. I love this. And now I want to see those slippers!

  3. What a beautiful story, Maura. I loved your slippers and loved your Mom’s “just for fun” gift giving. Funny but you probably don’t remember half the “normal” gifts you’ve been given but you’ll never forget the strange, quirky items your mother selected on those holidays. Really lovely story.

    • Maura Troy says:

      Thanks, Sharon. You are absolutely right. I will treasure the quirky gifts. And her hand knit sweaters. Those are the items I will never part with. :)

  4. A lovely story, Maura. Funny how the small things are really the important things. I have a box filled with all my mother’s little knick knacks and jokes that people gave her on her birthdays, etc., She treasured them and now so do I.

    • Maura Troy says:

      Thanks, Debbie. I think it’s great when we can hang on to things like that. They are great reminders about what made our moms so unique and special. :)

  5. Awww, this made me smile and tear up at the same time! What a wonderful memory. I’m going to keep the tradition alive and buy just for fun things for my kids. I have two boys, however, so the slippers probably won’t work.

    *hugs* to you.

    • Maura Troy says:

      Thanks, Abigail. The ‘just for fun’ tradition is a great one and I’m so glad you will be doing it for your boys. Keep me posted on what you come up with for them. Hugs to you, too. :)

  6. Awww…I love that story! I lost my mom over 15 years ago to cancer, and still miss her every minute of every day. I know what it feels like to want to hold on to a piece of her, no matter how small or “silly” it may seem. I’m sure you made your mother very happy when she saw that you were still wearing the slippers she gave you even though they were given to you “just for fun.” Enjoy and take good care of them.

    • Maura Troy says:

      Thanks, Liz. No matter how long they are gone, we will miss our moms every day. Having cherished mementos helps to dwell on the good stuff rather than the loss. Hugs to you!! :)

  7. Karen Schwartz says:

    Oh, I really like this story. Your mom’s spirit lives on. Love that you were able to refashion the slippers too.

  8. What a lovely, deeply felt post. You brought your mother into my living room – could almost hear the two of you laughing. I’m thinking I might get some of those exotic slippers!

  9. Love this! What a beautiful story. Thanks!

  10. Kathy Smith says:

    What a wonderful story of what sounds like a wonderful relationship with a wonderful mother. I’m inspired to have more fun with my own mother and daughter. Thanks for sharing!

    • Maura Troy says:

      Thank you, Kathy. She was indeed a wonderful mother. She’d be thrilled to know she inspired you, as am I. Hope you have lots of fun with your mother and daughter. Life’s too short to do otherwise. :)

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