As we were leaving the hotel and heading our car toward north for home, I noticed a fuchsia sock lying in the rain water next to our car.
The Fuchsia Sock
There is currently an approximately 6-to 8-year-old child missing this sock this morning. There will be the inevitable moment when mom or dad notices that the sock is missing. They will temporarily be lulled into thinking, “it’s somewhere in the house or car” or “it’s probably under the furniture” or “it’s in the other load of laundry.”
Eventually they will realize it’s gone, and they will never guess that it’s lying in a wet parking lot at a hotel.
I remember times when my kids were small and there were lots of socks in the wash. Many were mismatched. I would lay the single socks aside and assume that they would show up in the next wash, or during a thorough room cleaning. As time went on, I matched several, but the mismatched pile continued to exist. Eventually I would re-supply the kids’ sock drawer with new socks, and upgrade the mismatched items to my husband’s “work rags” and my dust cloths.
At one point, a friend suggested that I should always buy the same exact socks for the kids so that any and all would match. This kind of worked but was not fail-safe. Socks still seemed to disappear.
As I thought about the fuchsia sock, I remembered the day before when we were hanging out at my nephew’s home with his wife, 2 boys, and other family. We decided to pack a picnic and head to the park so the kids could run around and have fun. It’s really beautiful in Houston this time of year. Warm and breezy … blue skies … and no coats needed. My nephew and wife were caring for their “not quite” 2-year-old niece. We were all getting ready to leave for the park and the little cutie needed socks. Since she was visiting, her wardrobe selection was minimal. My nephew’s wife grabbed 2 perfectly good little socks out of the cutie’s stuff. There weren’t any current sock matches in her bag, so she wore mismatched socks. She was absolutely adorable.
Everyone had their shoes on, and off we went to the park.
The socks cutie was wearing were in no way similar (one was purple, one was orange), and each had different animals on it. But it worked. She was delightfully free of any social rules and ready to have fun at the park.
This was a good lesson in “don’t take life so seriously, Sally.” I have spent a lot of my life trying to make the “right” choices per what I perceived everyone else expected of me. I made several decisions based on the input of others that were wrong for me. It wasn’t because it was bad advice…it just wasn’t the right advice for me. I was too cautious regarding hurting someone’s feelings if I didn’t take their advice. I acquiesced to their suggestion sometimes because I didn’t want to cause a riff in my relationship with them. Several times I KNEW they were wrong and still followed their suggestion.
I also struggled with a fear of failure, and in some sad way it seemed easier to fail at something someone else told me to do, than to have to face up to the fact that “I” made a poor choice.
This is a bad way to live your life.
Perhaps it’s my age (just made 60 years), but I want to finish out the next couple of decades living life to its fullest. I need to live MY life; not the life everyone suggests for me, or is working for them so it must be right, or puts me into situations and drama that I simply don’t have time for anymore.
I have one life to live. I believe in a life after this life, but I’m not clear what that will be like. There’s a lot I love about my current life, and the people in my life, and the joy of seeing this beautiful country while I travel, and laughing with my husband, children and grandchildren, and feeling the sun on my skin, and drinking a good cup of coffee.
There are dreams I had as a child that didn’t exactly happen, and there have been hopes as an adult that took a “U-turn” sometimes.
And, like the little fuchsia sock, I’ve gotten lost.
But unlike the sock, I have always been able to find a new path to the next point in my life. And that gives me much to be thankful for, as well as hope for my next adventures in life.
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