I was thinking about a air of shoes today, a very different pair than you might see in the store or in this year’s Payless ad. It’s not a pair of boots with fur or some Lady Gaga meat pumps.

It’s the shoes that my heroes wear. It’s the shoes my parents put on every day.

It’s Christmas time and naturally I’m trying to decide what to get my parents. Funny enough, they both need a pair of good shoes. I got to thinking about the shoes my mom and dad wear every day.

When I was in high school and all five of my siblings and I still lived at home, my mom got up every day and put on her “mom” shoes: she cooked breakfast, packed lunches, did laundry, washed dishes, went grocery shopping. All those things that moms do, she put on when she put on her shoes.

My dad got up every day and put on his “dad” shoes. He laid the tile, he put in carpet, he was on his hands and knees for hours. Then both of them would change pairs and bring us to basketball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse, and track practice. They would coach, cheer, and sometimes get upset.

My parents: Stephanie and Clayton Mielke.

So many different pairs for just one job: being there for us and raising us. It’s amazing the shoes parents wear. Think about it: how many pairs did, and still do, your parents wear?