“The Yellow Booties,” Friend, July 1992, 46
Ann had spent months crocheting, undoing, and crocheting again. She had wanted the yellow booties to be perfect.
More than once she had thrown them aside. Mama had always picked them up and encouraged her to start again. “A few puckers won’t matter,” Mama had said.
Ann sighed. If she had known that the baby would be a girl, she would have chosen pink. But Mama had said, “Yellow is a pretty color, nice for either a boy or a girl.”
A car pulling into the driveway interrupted Ann’s thoughts. She rushed to the door to see if it was Dad bringing Mama and the new baby home from the hospital. It was! Ann ran out to the car. She tried to hug Mama, only to be told to be careful of the new baby.
The baby’s blanket was pink. Pink for a girl, of course. Ann wished again that she hadn’t chosen yellow. The blanket loosened, and a pink sleeper showed. The baby would never wear the yellow booties!
“Here, let me take her,” Dad said, reaching for the baby. Then he helped Mama from the car.
They made a big fuss over the baby as they went up the walk. Dad worried that the blanket was too tight. Mama laughed at her cute button nose. Ann felt ignored as she tagged along behind them.
In the house, Mama sat down with the baby. “Come meet your new sister,” she said to Ann, moving the pink blanket from the baby’s face.
Ann looked at the baby.
“Isn’t she beautiful?” Mama asked, fingering a tiny hand.
“She’s pretty,” Ann said in a low voice. But she really thought that the baby looked red and wrinkled like an old apple she had once found in the back of the fridge.
The doorbell rang. Grandma and Grandpa gave Ann only hurried hugs. They had presents for the baby. Grandma held up a dainty pink dress.
“And look at these,” said Grandpa. “I chose them myself.” He took the lid off a box and showed a pair of tiny pink satin slippers.
Ann wished again that she hadn’t made the yellow booties. She could have bought beautiful satin slippers for less than the yarn had cost. She thought of the booties, puckered and ugly, on her dresser.
Friends and neighbors came. Aunts and uncles and cousins dropped by. Everybody brought presents. There were little shoes and lovely dresses in an array of pink, lavender, and blue. But Ann didn’t see one yellow dress.
Maybe I should throw the yellow booties away, Ann thought. They don’t go with anything, and nobody will miss them. She went to her room. The booties weren’t on her dresser, where she was sure that she had left them. Everything in the room looked wavy through the tears in her eyes. She wiped her wet cheeks.
Grandma came in and declared, “Here you are! I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Your mama wants to see you in her bedroom.”
Ann went to see what Mama wanted. The baby was kicking on the bed. She was wearing slightly puckered yellow booties.
“She’s wearing my booties!”
“Of course she is,” said Mama. “I thought she should wear them home from the hospital. They’re her most precious gift—handmade with love by her big sister!”
Ann really looked at her new sister for the first time. How could she have thought the baby was wrinkled like a forgotten apple in the fridge? Her skin was as pink and soft as a new apple blossom!
“Dear, would you go with Dad to the store tomorrow and choose a beautiful yellow dress to match the booties?” Mama asked. “She needs something special to be blessed in.”
Something special to be blessed in, Ann thought to herself. And yellow, to go with her yellow booties. A big smile covered her face as she watched the baby give a last sleepy kick. The yellow booties do look nice.
“Yellow is going to be her best color,” Mama said. “You could even buy a little yellow bow for her hair. Would you like that?”
“I’d love that,” Ann said.