The Sock Basket of Life

Growing up at my house, we had a sock basket. I thought this was merely a Watts family phenomena until I began reading FlyLady and one FlyBaby said her daughter called their sock basket the “Late for School Basket.” If you have/had a sock basket, you know the wisdom of the daughter in the moniker she chose for said basket. If you did/do NOT have a sock basket, allow me to explain.

Imagine, if you will, a mountain of laundry. The Alps pale in comparison with this mountain of laundry. The Hemilayas are dwarfed by it. Yet there is sits between you and the t.v. Your mother had just dumped it all in front of you, and your job is to fold it into neat stacks. As you fold, you run across socks, and you throw them into a basket so you can match all the pairs once the mountain has been scaled. However, you never get around to it. It just sits there full of socks, until someone comes along to dig out a pair. That is a sock basket. And we had one.

Somewhere along the way, I became obsessed with NOT having a sock basket per se. I still DO have a sock basket–it’s the laundry basket. As I fold the clothes, I run across socks. They get pitched into the basket, but AS SOON as the clothes are folded, I fold all of the socks. It is a thing I can control. It is something I can master that is useful and needed and necessary.

However, with all of the chaos as of late, our clothes, not to mention our socks, have been in disarray on a monumental scale. We have an entire mountain chain of laundry both up and down stairs in various states of cleanliness. Ye Sock Basket of Olde had come to visit, and it was, indeed, a late for school basket. So, on the morning I was leaving for Lafayette, I got up early to get ready, and found myself in possession of an “extra” 15 minutes before I needed to leave the house. I did not relax over my toast and Diet Coke, nor did I pick a path through the maze of STUFF littering our floors. No, I folded socks. I could master it. It was useful and needed and necessary.

As I went through my little routine, I noticed something. . .socks are sort of like life. There are little piles here and there of different types of socks–athletic, girly, dress, anklets. They are much like the jobs we have–family, friends, work, church–and there are lots of socks in each pile. Some of them are easy to match up–the ones that have bright colors or logos or pictures on them. Others are more mundane–a pile of white athletic socks with writing on the toe–easy to fold, but you have to make sure you have the correct sizes together.

After all of the socks are folded, there are inevitably leftovers. The match is either still dirty or in transit or even lost somewhere in the house or the universe or gone to sock heaven. We tend to hold onto those socks. . .mismatched though they are. . .uneven and waiting to be set right. We don’t get rid of them. We haul them back to the laundry room to put somewhere in a little pile in hopes that their match can be found. Some of them we haul back and forth several times–weeks, months, even a year or more waiting for the match to show up. What if we FIND the match? It’s REALLY a VERY nice sock with vibrant colors and cute trim so we keep it just a little longer, yet that sock is no longer useful or needed or necessary. It is an albatross, a burden, it gums up the orderliness of the sock folding process. It is time to get rid of it, but that is sometimes hard to do. After all, we LIKE the sock. We bought it. We have high hopes for making it fit even it’s too little or so old that the elastic is shot.

Life is kind of like that don’t you think? There are some things that match up easily, readily, happily, other things that are mundane yet have to be done, and still other things that we need to get rid of–let go–throw away–discard like that sock whether it’s old and worn out or simply doesn’t fit or match up with our lives anymore.

Forrest’s momma was a wise woman with her box of chocolates, but my life, well, my life is more like a basket of socks.

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3 thoughts on “The Sock Basket of Life

  1. The older I get (or maybe the more kids I get) the more I love throwing things out. But it’s harder with the life clutter. Especially if you’re a people-pleaser. Or if you just want people to think well of you. It’s easy to hold onto things you shouldn’t just to please others. Good post.

  2. Pingback: Little Miss Rumphius « It be’s that way sometimes.

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