Monday, April 8, 2013

Mismatched Socks.

It's something that adults take for granted.  Most kids too.  But lately around here it's a foreign concept.

Matching socks.

I saw this on Pinterest recently and it completely captured my stance on laundry.  And life.

And lately, it's become most apparent in the sock drawers around here.  Desolate, empty, echoing drawers that are unused.  Instead our socks lay in piles amongst three alternating baskets that I just shove around to find a pair for each kid as we are running out the door.  Oh joy.  The pride of the run-and-gun mommy.

But the truth is my kids' (and my own for that matter) mismatched socks gave me perspective.  No, no, not that I am trying to keep up.  And not that I am certifiably crazy.  But of solving problems.

I watch Dylan and how he plays.  He is a creative mind, constantly reinventing, reconfiguring, recalibrating.  He collects rocks and sees them as beautiful.  A filthy crumbly parking lot rock has all the beauty in the world.  A pebble on the shore is a treasure.

He collects googly eyeballs that most kiddos glue on a school project.  He keeps them in a paper cup.

After Michael has built Dylan his LEGO set, Dylan deconstructs it and rebuilds it into his own creation.  He is constantly solving new problems and seeing them in a new light.

I have lost this ability in my life and it has been miraculous to watch Dylan on a rainy morning playing with some toys and some random items out of my junk drawer in the kitchen.  He is a creative thinker.  And in the process, been a one-boy wrecking ball in my home.

Things are no longer organized.  Blocks stacked up with pencils and pebbles.  Clothespins that have been taken apart on my kitchen counter.  My kitchen sink covered in water where Dylan has explored all of water's qualities.  Beads to my a broken bracelet of mine in an Altoids box and a sock bulging with pebbles.  There is stuff everywhere -- no longer with rhyme or reason.  I aim for "tidy" these days.

As a result, we have all begun to accept the mismatched socks.  Michael no longer complains in his perfectionist, exasperated almost annoyed tone.  He has accepted that we are lucky to get two socks on his feet in the morning when he is out the door to school after two hours of scrambling for treatments, breakfast, getting dressed, confirming homework and library books are in the backpack amongst other morning drama.  Dylan could care less...  or rather he doesn't even notice.

And one day recently, it occurred to me...  The mismatched socks are simply a new solution.  Kiddies need warm and protected feet.  Two halves equal a whole.  Two socks make a pair.  Who ever said we have to conform anyway?  And frankly, the goal is keep those sweet tootsies safe.  It's no longer about overachieving.  And let's be honest, I have lowered my standards.  Or just maybe looked at life like Dylan...  with a unique and different perspective.  With a solution.

After the hustle and bustle of Easter morning, there are chocolate egg foils scattered about on our kitchen table, colorful jellybeans spilled and cascade onto the floor, and paper grass all over the house.  I sigh, and clean it up.  Our favorite Honey Baked Ham is warming in the oven and I am getting the sweet Balsamic Honey glaze ready for the carrots.  The boys have not only loosened their plaid prep ties from Easter Mass, but they have entirely discarded them as well as the dress shirts.  They sit and play in the family room with their white undershirts and khaki pants as their play uniforms.  I smile as I sip a pre-emptive Summer Shandy, wishful for the warm breeze of spring to arrive.

The boys were good at Mass, which was a feat.  Michael sat bullishly flipping through the Bible and looking up at the sunlight pouring through the church.  Dylan wiggled a lot and announced in a loud, hoarse whisper that "We have been here for HOURS, Daddy.  How much longer....?"  It had been twenty minutes.  But it was receiving Communion that was the most impressive.  Our boys were not only interested but happy to join us giving the priest a high-five.  When we sit back down and kneel, Michael tells me that when the joyous priest told him "Bless you" he responded with "Bless you" to the Father.  I laughed.  Then Dylan proclaims that he must say hello to the priest.  We calm him down and tell him that when we leave church we will find him so he could give him a proper greeting.  For Dylan, his Easter experience would not be compete with out it.

My husband and I give a sigh of relief as we leave church that we survived with our boys -- Michael, the pensive, arguer and Dylan the one-kid wrecking ball.  We say a happy hello and thank you and "Happy Easter" to the priest as we exit.  The Father responds cheerfully...  Dylan is satisfied.

I watch the boys play in the warm light of the family room.  Within minutes we are seated around our table with all the Easter goods.  As we munch and discuss our Easter blessings and the value of having a good heart in life, Dylan states loudly, "Mommy, that looks like a volcano."  I ask him what exactly he is looking at and he points to the bundled tulips in a clear cylinder vase.  Volcano?  I question him.  And he confirms, "Yes, a volcano."  I am in awe.  How does he see a volcano from prim yellow, red and pink tulips.  I sit and stare for a long time at the flowers trying to see what he is seeing.  I smile when I realize he is looking at the red streaks that form a slight pyramid in the yellow tulips.  A volcano.  At least that's what I think he is referring to.

Monday morning greets us and it's back to school and the sunshine finally breaks the gray gloom of March sedation.  Dylan and I are driving in the car.  "Mommy, four and five makes nine," he announces.  His statement is a regurgitation of Michael's math work in Kindergarten.  "Yes," I respond.  "It is.  You are a very smart little boy, Dylan."

He replies, "No, I am clever."  He lingers on the "rrrrr" sound at the end.  And I laugh knowing that this kid really is.

I drop him off at school and head to the gym.  The treadmill is a good place for me to think.  My mental clarity kicks in with the hum and rhythm When I am running 6 mph on a treadmill.  I hurry into the gym knowing I have only a short time to knock out some good time.  As I settle up at a locker and unwind my earphones, I kick off my flip flops and grab my running kicks out of my bag.  I dig around my wallet... my awkward planner...  my make up bag...  I am searching for my socks.  "Ugh.  I know I put them in here somewhere."  Yank.  I pull them out.  As I turn out the pair to put them on...  I notice.  One sock with pink stripes and one sock with purple stripes.

Clever.  Well, at least they both have stripes.