A frame of reference is a set of ideas, conditions, or assumptions that determine how we approach, perceive or understand something. These New Balance Rainbow shoes for preschoolers provided a frame of reference for me today.
I bought Bridgy a pair of these as soon as they hit the shelf back in March. Her school has a strict uniform code and she is only allowed to wear white or black shoes. I thought these shoes were unique and a little outrageous. I thought they’d give her a break from the monotony of plaid jumpers and plain colors. We even busted the uniform code one day and I let her wear them to school. Here is a picture I snapped of her with my phone and posted to Instagram on March 11. She was very proud of her new shoes!
Here is the cover of yesterday’s Oklahoman. The little girl being carried by her father is wearing a pair of Rainbow New Balance.
Filling in the Blanks
Sometimes, when I hear about tragedies involving children, I fill in blanks to make the facts more digestible. In 2006, when I was working as the public information officer for an ambulance service, paramedics worked an accident that claimed the life of twin girls. In the deep recesses of my mind, I told myself their parents didn’t love them as much as other parents love their kids. That way, I could “work” the accident. I could absorb the trauma of unthinkable loss: not one daughter, but two.
The day I bought the New Balance shoes for Bridgy, Sandy Hook was not far from my mind. It had only been three months.
I went to Shoe Carnival looking for white shoes, but then I remembered life is short and childhood passes quickly. Grown-ups don’t generally wear rainbow-colored shoes. So I bought them, and I brought them home and gave them to Bridgy. They made her so happy, and I fully embraced the final two months of Kindergarten.
Frame of Reference for a Feeble Mind
So, I can’t insulate myself from tragedy with lies about the parents who lost children in the tornado. The rainbow is my frame of reference for a feeble mind struggling to absorb someone’s devastating loss. The parents who lost their children loved them just as much as I love mine. They’re just as shattered as I would be if the shoe, as it were, was on the other foot.