Thursday, March 6, 2014

How baby socks hurt my heart today

Day one of my Lenten project, 40 bags in 40 days, a decluttering project, began with my odd sock basket.  I don’t let my children use the word hate, so I’ll begin by saying I LOATHE socks.  If I could find a way around them at all, I would.  I had, until just now, an entire laundry basket full of odd socks sitting on top of my dryer.  I had to reach around it every time I wanted to dry clothes.  It was ridiculous.  Once in a while, I go through it and match up what I can, but as piles do, it grows again with time and the sock-eating laundry process.

Tonight my resolve was bright and shiny and new so I set about dumping out all the socks and sorting them by person.  I was doing quite well when I came upon the first of the teeny baby socks, a blue, ever-so-soft sock with bear faces.  My youngest will be two this summer, and in the past few weeks, he has grown from baby to boy, chattering non-stop and getting a more angular big-boy face.  While I spend many moments throughout the day wishing my littles were just a little bigger (!!!), I still wish I could freeze some moments - the nice ones, not the crying and gnashing of teeth ones.  The teeny baby socks put me in mind of the teeny baby feet I used to admire and snarfle and kiss.  Those little feet that fit into those tiny socks were a slice of Heaven!  So soft and sweet and nearly edible.  I know, I’m a weirdo.

Through the 2 a.m. nursing to the 4 a.m. teething awakenings, even when mouths were crying and demanding attention, those tiny feet inspired tenderness in me.  In my worst postpartum depression moments, the feet of my eldest stirred maternal feeling when nothing else seemed to make a difference.

So when I was choosing which socks wouldn’t possibly stretch over Bryce’s ever-elongating feet, it hit me that I wouldn’t be saving any for the next baby.  This was it.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dream of another baby, I just mourn the passing of my babies’ beloved teeny feet.

I held up various pairs to Jason for inspection, presenting them, and then holding them to my heart. He wasn't quite so moved as I, especially about four socks into this process. It was the pink trimmed, lettuce-edged “I Love Mommy” ones of Sophie’s that made my heart ache the most.  I can’t explain why, but those gave me more pause.  Maybe because she’s my lone daughter, or maybe because of the time frame and my state of mind, I enjoyed her babyhood with the most leisure.  Rafe was nearly four when she was born, so he was getting to be independent, plus I experienced no depression after she was born. 

Whatever the reason, I couldn’t part with those cherished socks.  They’ll go in her keepsake box.  I also chose a pair for each of the boys, to put away as mementos of a time when teeny feet inhabited my home and my heart.

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