Yesterday was my mom's eightieth birthday. I suppose you're wondering what her birthday has to do with socks. And really it has nothing to do with her actual birthday, but it does have to do a lot with her.
Many young women clash with their mothers when they leave the parental home and start their own. My mom and I made a pact when I married. Each of us would be a guest when we visited the other. It was a way that we could have a mini-vacation. Her life as a pastor's wife was extremely busy and stressful. My life as a mother of three preschoolers was equally busy and stressful.
The problem with the pact was that Mom really didn't know how to relax. She needed to be doing. After some further discussion, we agreed that whenever she was visiting, she could do the laundry.
Now you know how I feel about the laundry. It's second only to grocery shopping on my list of least favorite chores. So I was thrilled that she chose the laundry from the list of possibles. Over the years it was a wonderful boon to me.
As our family added another child to the group and I worked outside of the home, the laundry inevitably piled up. Whenever my parents would arrive for a visit, there was always a mountain of clothes waiting. And she would dive in, almost before her coat was hung up. That washer and dryer ran non-stop from the time she crawled out of bed in the morning until she crawled back in at night.
But you need to know about the socks. Over the years, socks disappeared, as socks do. The boys especially would start out with fifteen or twenty pairs of socks that rapidly dwindled down to six. So when Mom came to visit, one of the benefits was the restoration of the sock pile. She hunted for the socks.
Every once in a while, we would hear an "Ah-hah! I found another sock!" as she unearthed it from the floor of the closet or under the bed. When she left for home, she always left behind a couple laundry baskets full of clean, matched socks.
So it got to be a joke in our family. The kids would call her up and say, "Grandma, it's time for you to come visit. We don't have any socks!"
A couple weeks ago, I went to visit my granddaughters. In the way of kids, their room was a mess. Most of it was laundry. As I stood in the doorway, shaking my head, their Mama told them all about her Grandma and the sock basket. My granddaughter called me a couple days after I came home. "Grandma, you need to come back. We can't find the socks!"