Everybody Loved My Socks!

I threw away a pair of tie-dyed socks.

The socks were handed down to us many years ago by my niece, who is now in college. The elastic wasn’t perfect when we got them, and they were girls’ socks, but tie-dye is very popular in our family.

So Dylan got them first, and loved them. He liked to wear them on days when he wore his tie-dyed shirts, or his brightest colored shoes. Dylan liked to dress in bright colors, and the tie-dyed socks fit right in.

But Dylan’s feet grew fast. He wore them often, but he outgrew the socks by 5th grade. So we put them in the pile of clothes that were “waiting” for Shane.

Shane didn’t have to wait long. His feet were growing fast, too.

And Shane loved those tie-dyed socks. Shane has always enjoyed a more subdued wardrobe than Dylan. He prefers blacks and browns to reds and oranges. But those bright socks always brightened his step. They were just a tad big, and the elastic was pretty much gone by then. I called them “slouchy socks,” after the fad in the eighties.

The first time Shane wore the tie-dyed socks to school, he was eight years old. He came home excited and said, “Everybody loved my socks!”

“I love your socks, too,” I told him.

“I am going to wear them again tomorrow!” he said joyously.

He did not wear them tomorrow. He put them in the laundry hamper, and the laundry fairies did not come and wash his socks that night. But a few days later, when they were clean, they were back on Shane’s feet!

In fact, every time they showed up in Shane’s drawer, he wore them. As soon as they were clean, they were dirty. Shane looked for the tie-dyed socks first. And if I only washed a few things, I made sure those tie-dyed socks – both of them – were in the load, so that he could wear the thing he treasured most.

This went on for many years. Because the socks were so old, Shane got a new pair of tie-dyed socks for Christmas. He never wore them, so I put them in a box in his closet.

Shane is at the end of sixth grade now. He’s been wearing the socks every week, sometimes two or three times a week, for four years. His feet have grown a bit in that time. He’s gone from a shoe size 3 to a size 9.

Yesterday, I made a comment that Shane’s jacket is too small for him, and he said, “I think my socks might be too small, too.”

He pulled up his pant leg, and there were the tie-dyed socks. He pulled his foot out of his shoe, to show me the sock’s heel way down in the arch of his foot. The tops of the socks barely covered his ankles.

“This is the last wear for those socks,” I told him.

“But they’re my favorite socks!” Shane said.

“I know, Buddy,” I said. “But it’s time.”

Shane hopefully tossed the socks into the laundry that night, where I found them. And then I took them down to the kitchen, where no one would find them in the trash, and I threw them away.

I hopefully pulled out the tie-dyed socks Shane got for Christmas, and put them in his drawer.

And I only cried for a short time.

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