of socks and maturity

Monday morning, I was laughing with glee when I loaded up the kids in the Suburban.  My youngest had tickled a memory of my eldest and it was sweet.  Sweet, sweet irony.

Sidney, who has struggled with making efficient use of his time, showed a rare burst of determination the night before.  He gathered his books and assignments.  Aloud, he planned for tomorow’s chores, breakfast, lunch preparations — all the things that he needed to do in order to be ready to go at 7:45 am.

The next morning, he had his bookbag, lunchbox and shoes all lined up on the mudroom floor.  On the bench, lay his clean pair of socks.  Lincoln and the girls got to the mudroom first,  put on shoes, coats, and grabbed books.

I heard Prairie say to herself, “I’ll just put on my socks first.”

Hmmm, that is strange, I thought. Prairie never remembers to put on socks.  She  always goes sockless no matter how cold, unless I remind her.  I was encouraged at her show of maturity.

Lincoln and both girls went on out to the Suburban.

A few minutes later, Sidney walked into the mudroom and reached for his socks.

“Where are my socks? . . . . . .I KNOW I put my socks right here!”  He began to twist and turn,  looking all around him.

Understanding dawned and I grinned, “I think Prairie is wearing your socks.”

He lunged for the door, with the obvious intent of demanding a return of his socks.

“She is already in the Suburban, Sidney.  It will be faster if you just go upstairs and get another pair.”

He sighed self-righteously and raced back upstairs.

Once we were all in the car. I hid my smile and commented, “Wow, Prairie, I am proud of you.  You remembered to put on socks!  Did you get those socks out of your drawer?”

“Yes!” she answered immediately.  It was obvious that she was only half-listening and not paying attention to my question.

“Prairie, now stop and think for a minute.  Where did you get those socks?”

She thought for a second and said slowly, “From the mudroom?”

“Prairie, you stole Sidney socks.  Why didn’t you just go upstairs and get a pair of your socks?”

“Well, I wanted to,” she said practically, “but I didn’t think that I had enough time to go all   the   way  back upstairs.”

At this, Sidney exclaimed, “Then *I* had to run back upstairs.”  He was grinning from ear to ear, trying not to laugh too.

When we arrived at coop and Sidney opened the back door to get his books, he tried hard to look stern and commanded in his most serious voice, “Little girl, those socks had better be CLEAN when I get back home.”

And then I knew.  Sidney did remember when he was the one stealing socks.

Several years ago, when my 13 yo son was not quite the mature young man he is now, he had a bad habit of walking outside in his socks.  We generally don’t wear shoes in the house, and if Sidney needed to run outside to dump compost, retrieve something from the Suburban, or take out trash, he just felt like putting on shoes was too much work.  So he would step out in socked feet.

Of course, this wore his socks through, and half his bottom foot would show until I caught them on wash day and threw them out.  When his sock drawer emptied, he slunk down the hall and “borrowed” from his dad’s sock drawer.  He wore his dad’s socks outside.  With no shoes.  And wore holes in them.

Eventually, Sidney had to replace his dad’s socks and was required to buy his own socks from then on.

But even still, I never noticed Sidney show any great concern for his socks until Monday.  When a sock thief took his socks.  And he began to wonder . . . . .where would she go in his socks?  And would she wear shoes when she went?

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