In praise of odd socks: a lesson from my 3-year old

I love those moments in the humdrum of everyday life that happily catch you by surprise, where you go “Ah….now I see!” or “Wow…that thing people say about not sweating the small stuff. Now I get it.”

Through the various trials and tribulations of the last year, I’m lucky that I’ve had quite a few of those ‘a-ha’ moments: moments that have prompted small, but important and lasting changes in how I approach things, which altogether make for a sense of calm and contentment which I’ve not had in quite a while. And for my most favourite of all those moments and lessons, I have my 3-year old to thank.

My daughter just doesn’t “do” matching socks. She always insists on woddsocksearing two different socks, and no amount of persuasion or bribery – those trustiest tools of any parent’s toolkit – will convince her otherwise. (I have no idea where she got her stubborn tendencies from, by the way.) Her logic is as follows: “I have two feet, Mummy. I like this-a sock and this-a sock. So I can wear a pink one on this-a foot and a penguin sock on this-a foot!” And actually, when you think about it, and momentarily leave aside everything that your adult brain is telling you about the etiquette of sock-wearing, she has a point.

Why wear just one colour sock when you can wear two different colours. Life is better in colour, surely?

There will come a day when my little girl will start to realise that the world is telling her – in subtle and not so subtle ways – that there are things that are done ‘comme il faut’ as the French would put it; this is the way, you must conform, and odd socks really just aren’t the done thing. Learning this lesson is, to an extent, pretty important – it’s part of her developing and adapting, and becoming an active, happy, engaged member of society. A member of a family, a classroom, a sports team, a choir (no pressure, darling), a workplace. And so it goes on.

I’m not in any rush for that day to come. For now, I will encourage my little lady with all my heart to embrace her joyous and stubborn insistence that odd socks are lovely. So if people “in the world” look at her (or more likely, look at me) and think “Goodness, what sort of mother are you letting your child wear non-matching socks in public?” – well that’s ok. I bear you no ill will. I wish you a very happy day over in your corner of the world, really I do. Over here in my little corner, odd socks are actually just fine.

More than fine – odd socks are beautiful: in their simplicity and quiet insistence that different is lovely, and that to a 3-year old, anything is possible – even wearing odd socks with pink sandals on a freezing day in January. And if the odd socks turn a few heads, and get a few quizzical looks (which they do), that doesn’t matter. Most things aren’t all that important – one of the things that really is important (so my daughter has reminded me) is finding little things that bring colour and smiles to the humdrum of everyday life. Like colourful socks.

 

Advertisements