"Big feet," says the Korean shoe repairman, turning one of my husband's shiny black shoes over in his hands. "Big feet," he repeats, eyes awed. "Size 14," I offer, without adding that I've been tripping over my husband's shoes for the last eight years. Dress shoes, running shoes, sandals; they litter the house like canoes. When we go on a trip, one pair fills an entire suitcase. God bless the man -- next to him, my size-81/2 feet feel small.

Laurie Hynes

Williamsburg

They went to Peru for two weeks of adventure. Then we read of mudslides at Machu Picchu -- six missing, hundreds stranded. Thankfully, they appear at BWI on their arrival day, tanned and clueless. Turns out they were in the Amazon during the mudslides. I beg for one call home next time. Smiling, they toss their backpacks next to my diaper bag and excitedly tell their stories: fishing for piranha, the night sky, hiking the Inca trail . . .

Suddenly, the truth hits me like a Peruvian mudslide: My parents are officially much, much cooler than I am. Ouch.

Kristin Terchek O'Keefe

Chevy Chase

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