Counting Socks

A friend told me to “find humor” in my mom’s move.

I am happy to report that I found it, counting socks.


At least once a week Mom and I take things to her new home, unpack it, and reorganize it. It’s not only a physical workout, especially for me, but it’s also an adventure that we both seem to enjoy. The “adventure,” which I will lovingly call it, is sometimes found inside of a plastic garbage bag. On the other hand it is really more like a treasure hunt, rather than an adventure. Mom doesn’t use the packing boxes that I have provided; instead, she prefers garbage bags. Now while this is fine (I try not to sweat the small stuff, Lord knows there are plenty of other things that I’m sweating over these days) it does create questions when I start unpacking. Such as, “Where does this go, Mom,” or “What is in this, Mom?” to which she giggles and replies, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t remember. Just tear it open and dump it out,” so I do.

Recently on one of our  “adventurous treasure hunts,” I dumped out at least 30 pairs of socks. I’m not kidding!

We were in her bedroom. Mom was leaning against the door frame; I was on the floor on my knees. When I tore open one of the mystery bags, a bounty of colorful socks fell to the floor. They piled up, like manna from heaven, around me.

Mom said, “Oh, yeah, I forgot, that one has my socks in it.”

I looked up and said,

“Really, Mom, do you really need all of these? You can’t possibly wear or need all of these.”

“But I do,” she confirmed.

And then she pointed to a faded gray pair that stood out from the rest; different, yet familiar.

“Those were your daddy’s socks,” she said, matter-of-fact, “and I’m keeping them.”

I nodded and, without saying a word, gathered them in my arms and placed them in a very large, deep drawer.

You see, it was during this moment, this seemingly monotonous act, that I began to realize that it’s not my dad’s socks that Mom holds on to, but her memory of him wearing them.

As bitter sweet and as excruciatingly painful as our memories may be, when speaking of departed loved ones, sometimes they comfort. The memory of my dad wearing these socks comforts my mother. I saw that today.

 Memories are like socks, aren’t they? They add up quickly. Some we want to keep, and others we want to throw out.

Mom and I make memories each time we’re together. Today we made a new memory, while  remembering another. Today we counted socks, together. When tomorrow comes I want to remember the memory, but mostly l want to look back and remember my relationship with my beloved mother, my best friend.


Dear God:

When so many have a soiled relationship with their mother, I am grateful that the relationship I have with my mother is one others envy.

I am grateful for the laughter we’ve shared.

I am grateful for the tears we’ve shared.

I am grateful for the memories we’ve shared.

And, I am grateful for the memory we made . . . counting socks.


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