Laundry piled high like Mt. Everest right after I decide that three piles could be turned into two. The washing machine might have to churn a bit harder, but I would be done all the sooner. And then I remember – this morning “Mom I have no socks!” And it’s two minutes before we have to run out the door with backpacks, and papers loose in the hand and shoes not yet on hurried feet. “Where are all of your socks?!” Didn’t I just buy a pack of socks, or was it two? Just a month ago? And she says, “I looked in the hamper to get the ones I wore yesterday and I can only find one” and I’m sure they have been worn a day or two before that, too… then I look in the sock drawer amidst the jumble and jungle of tights and mismatched socks and socks that are too small and socks that “don’t feel good” and socks with holes in the heels and I give up! I pull open the hamper and there it is, the lonely sock that has been separated from its partner and I dig and pull and sort and yes, there is the other one too! The one I’m looking for with purple toe and purple heel, and yesterday’s footprints all over, but it will have to do. Pull them on quick and we’ve got to run! The shuttle bus will not wait for your sister and time doesn’t stop and the bus won’t stop.
So I go in search of socks to add to the mountain because there is only one pair still in the hamper and I’ve bought all these socks and they’re not in the drawer either. Under the sofa, nothing. Under the table, nothing. In the hamper in her room, nothing. And then I see a bit of pink peeking out from under the blanket all on a mound beside her bed. Could it be? Yes indeed, the lone “Hello Kitty” sock with pink edges, anxious to be acknowledged and rescued from its forgotten state. I move the blanket and rummage through papers and books and treasure and more blankets and hit the jackpot – the mate of the pink “Hello Kitty” sock… and another sock and another and another mate, and well, it’s no secret now why there are no socks in the hamper or in the drawer and why she’s been wearing the same two pair over and over for the last few weeks and why there never were but two socks in the laundry. I dig further and find myself on my hands and knees, head under the bed digging through more, and saying a prayer since I’m already on my knees anyway “Grace, grace for this moment and for this child and for this mommy who doesn’t have it all together, who has to scrounge for faith and clarity just like I’m scrounging for dirty socks.” And along with socks I find bowls with spoons glued to the inside with dried-up smears of chocolate ice cream where she couldn’t scrape out any more. And I find shoes and books and art projects and notes from friends and notes to friends and notes to mom and notes about mom.
And I’m humbled, there on my knees, asking again for grace! This little one, not chiding her mother for not making sure she has clean socks every day, but every day making sure she blows a kiss and looks in the eyes and waves love after she’s out of the van and the doors are closed, just before the big doors of the school swallow her up for yet another day. We can’t hear each other on opposite sides of glass, and love needs no audible articulation, but it’s the same thing every morning, every morning, every morning even when there have been tears because there has been little grace granted.
And every evening it’s “Goodnight”, “I love you” and kisses again, and hugs. And she lives grace to me. She overlooks the jungle of the sock drawer that has nothing in it to wear and loves still.
Then I know there is still something left for me to do today, and the time to do it – I am compelled to add one more thing to the treasure trove under the bed, a note from mom telling her how much she is loved!