I set them on the basement steps, unsure of their destiny. A solid pair of size 7T boots with handles at the top, so a toddler can proudly pull them on “all by myself.”

Anyone in these blue galoshes adorned with bright red tractors has the power to stop even the stodgiest of passersby in their tracks.

But are these boots for just anyone?

They became an heirloom locket of sorts when they held one of my life’s finest treasures: my two-year-old son, Owen.

Owen first wore the tractor boots on Halloween to complete his farmer costume. (Farmer Allen, to be precise, a cousin and neighbor who always welcomes us onto his farm.) He wore extra-thick socks that year to fill out the boots while trick or treating in suspenders and a straw hat.

In those trusty wellies, Owen’s steps became more sure as he insisted on wearing them everywhere — from the driveway puddles to the wooded trails behind our house and even the carpeted floor of the neighborhood library.

Year two was a good one for Owen. Tantrums faded as language bloomed. Sure, the year had started with an emergency surgery and involved extensive physical therapy and way too many visits to Boston Children’s Hospital. But we mostly spent our time boogying down during music class, learning to make apple pie and flying solo to California to meet Owen’s new baby cousin.

I watched as Owen grew into and out of his tractor boots. I had such warm memories from the year he trudged around in those boots that as I tucked them away, I wondered — if I had a second child, would I, could I, let him or her wear them?

As happens with baby number two, time speeds up. One day, when Owen’s little brother Rye was a toddler, he spotted the tractor boots tucked away on a basement shelf. Rye squealed with delight, jumping into them and skipping around the basement. We made countless farm trips in them. Then, in what felt like an instant, Rye was a size 8T and eager to try on Owen’s hand-me-down cars and trucks boots.

So there they are again: a pair tractor boots at the top of the basement steps with a fate unknown. Down to storage or out the door to goodwill?

As a mother, I have some things down, like reading books, watching caterpillars, riding bikes and gathering our gang for wholesome family dinners, but one thing that’s challenged me is letting go. When Owen was just shy of six and his first loose tooth dropped, I actually considered tucking it back in.

What am I supposed to do with the matching, uber-soft tiger striped pajamas my boys just outgrew, and all the other nostalgic artifacts of their childhood? Twenty years from now, would Owen even want or remember those tractor boots? What would his future wife say about them?

Keeping the boots makes me feel like I still have part of that golden time Owen and I shared, and also that special two-year-old person whom I’ll never know again. Owen’s round face full of innocence, our farm exploits and library trips, they are all right there in those two solid boots.

But if parenthood is about letting go, it’s probably best for me to get some practice in taking a few steps back. I can run half marathons for fun, but find myself deeply challenged by those backward steps, ones that might allow my boys to stumble and shine a little on their own.

Perhaps I should begin searching for a pair of “big kid” wellies for Owen to explore those wooded paths behind our house this fall. Maybe for the first time, he and Rye will even set out on their own to build a fairy house back there.

If letting go would allow someone else to fill those tractor boots with a pair of tiny feet and a year of shared adventures, it’s probably best that I walk them to the door.

Besides, it means allowing space for something new for each of us.

I imagine I’ll pause at the door and gulp as I drop the tractor boots into a donation pile. Then, maybe I’ll step into my own muck boots and head over to view the spectacular acorn, moss and stick-covered creation Owen and Rye have made on the trail behind our house. Maybe then I can slip back inside to start an apple pie, all by myself.

Moira Silva is a freelance writer who lives in West Tisbury.