I was in bed by 8:30 last night. I was ready to drift off to sleep when dearest one came in to get his work clothes ready for today. I watched in the shadowy lamp light as he opened the drawer of his childhood dresser and pulled out socks and underwear and a clean white t shirt. I had one of those moments of overwhelming gratitude for the simple things in life. The stuff we take for granted. Like a drawer full of matching socks.
As I watched I was taken back to a moment when I was six years old. I remember swinging my feet under the breakfast table on the kind of warm June morning that called for a dress or shorts. I had on a pair of knee high mismatched socks because that's what had been in my sock drawer that morning. Who knows what other stresses my mother was under that morning. It must have been something because she got really mad when she noticed I had on two not so white socks with mismatched patterns. She angrily sent me back to my room to get a matched pair. I didn't feel safe to tell her there weren't any. So I obediently went back to my room and stayed there a while feeling utter panic.
And there my memory ends. Sometimes I think if I squint hard enough I can see in my mind what happened after that. I doubt I missed the bus. I doubt I had on a pair of matching socks.
My mom bought groceries every Thursday of my growing up years. When I was a teenager sometimes I'd come home on a Thursday after school to find a new pair of white tube socks on the stair railing for me along with a pack of gum.
Compassion runs both ways today for me. Most likely my mom felt shame at sending me to school in a pair of mismatched socks. She couldn't do anything about it, either. There probably wasn't any money for new socks. I wish she'd had the tools to handle the situation differently but she didn't. When we know better, we do better.