So do you know the story behind our red shoes?
Several of our children have been on stage at Allenberry Playhouse every season for the past seven years. From the very beginning, we made certain that we got to know the people our kids were hanging out with. At first it was selfish, I admit. It's not easy to drop your children off with a bunch of strangers. We figured if they knew us, and knew our children, they'd help keep an extra eye on them. But it didn't take us long to realize what the life of an actor is like; most of the friends we were making were here for a show, maybe two, a season or two if they were lucky, and then they moved on. They were essentially homeless, living with the stress of wondering where the next job would be, where they would go if nothing was lined up, and how they would make a living until the next audition and hopefully the next acting job.
From that time on, we made it our mission to make our home their home. We took them homemade treats, we invited them over for meals, we sent care packages when they left, and in the rare and unfortunate event that they ended up in the hospital, we went visiting. Of course, they made it easy. Theater folks, like my daughter, brighten the room upon entering. They are funny and know how to have a good time. They are gracious and easy to please. We have loved getting to know so many of them much better than "Hi, how are you?" and have great friendships all over the US because of the friendships made at Allenberry.
I've already shared how our friend, Katrina, went from Allenberry to Alaska to Utah and how her presence here is no coincidence. We've visited many friends in NYC, traveled out of state to perform in the wedding of two theater friends, followed them to various theaters to see their shows, gotten backstage passes through their connections and even bumped into one on the Disney Cruise. Since that's a fantastic story, it must be shared here. We knew that when Todd left Allenberry, he was headed to a Disney cruise ship. We didn't know which one or how long he was to be there. Several years later, as we headed to the airport to embark on the first leg of our Disney cruise journey, we talked about whether or not he might still be there but figured not only was it unlikely that he still had that job, what were the chances of it being on this ship? We got on the boat and prepared for the first safety drill. As we put on our life vests and lined up along the side of the boat, someone said, "Hey, I know you." Simultaneously John and I said, "Todd????" Sure enough, he was still there, and still performing as _________. If I told you, I'd have to kill you. Or someone from Disney would come to Utah to kill me. We had a nice lunch with him later in the week where we caught up with him, asked him a lot of questions, and heard him answer, "I can neither confirm nor deny" multiple times. It's a charmed life.
Anywho, one day a little over a year ago, John and I were on property and one of our very dear friends who is also exceptionally talented (You know who you are, thank you very much) said, "Wait here. I have something for you." She came back with a very large box. Inside that box we found seven smaller boxes, each containing a pair of red Converse sneakers. You see, Converse are their thing and now, not only were they one of us, we were one of them.
Not only did each pair fit perfectly, but because she knew that two of the kids already owned the Converse that they had worn in the Christmas show that year (who knew that elves wear red Converse?), she had bought them a size larger so they could grow into them. She told us that the shoes were for all of us, for all we had done for her and her friends. We were blown away! We decided that we had to wear them for all concerts forevermore to remind us that a little love and kindness will go a long way.
And we also used them to announce that we were adopting again.
So when I received a package in the mail from this same friend, I'll admit I had a feeling I knew what was in that box. Sure enough, she blessed us with a pair of red Converse for Victor. Her note read, "I've sent a little gift for Victor. I know that he has some growing to do before the little Converse booties fit him, and once they do he'll probably kick them off anyway, but I didn't want him to feel left out. Now he has his own pair of red shoes." I say he's going to wear them to every concert whether they're too big or not, whether he kicks them off or not!
And at 4 lb. 13 oz. I think Victor is well on his way to fitting into those booties. Nothing new. Still waiting to eat, learning to take nice, oxygen-filled breaths, and growing. Each day is a day closer to home. Please pray us home!