Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Life Socks

As first seen in I Am Modern Magazine's Summer 2010 edition.

I saw a baby blue sock with an orange stripe, and a white one with a gray toe. A camouflage sock peeked out from beneath a discarded, outgrown onesie. But where was the bleepin’ match to the sock in my hand? The cliché needle in a haystack would be easier to find than a matching sock in this stack of singles. After rummaging fruitlessly through the pile, I accepted defeat thinking, “Who sees his feet anyway? They’re in his shoes all day.” After all, the clock was ticking and the daily daycare drop-off circus routine waited down the road. Mismatched socks were a minor casualty in the pre-dawn battle to move my two young boys out the door.

The morning began as most do, with my one-year-old’s cries blaring from the monitor on the nightstand. Why I bother to set the alarm clock, I don’t know. I felt my way blindly through the dark hallway to his room, scooped him up from his crib and delivered him to his mother. As she consoled him with coos and whispered hushes, I descended the stairs to the kitchen to retrieve a sippy-cup of soothing milk. Just as I was about to climb back into bed, my three-year-old appeared in the doorway demanding to drink “juicy” in Mommy and Daddy’s bed. Once again I was dispatched to fetch a beverage, and dreams of slipping back under my warm covers were dashed for the day.

Some mornings I handle parenting challenges gracefully. Other days I’m growling like a rabid raccoon and kicking toys across the room in frustration. My patience was tested on this day. I managed to wrap a diaper around my writhing child despite his best attempts to thwart me. My victory was rewarded with the need to repeat the process three minutes later. Hunger had apparently driven my older son mad, as he whined and cried alternately for cereal and milk and Disney’s Phineas and Ferb cartoon. I retrieved the pacifier from behind the diaper table where it had been intentionally tossed. I administered medicines to pouting, pursed lips. I pounced over the couch like a cat and wrestled a hooded sweatshirt over an uncooperative head. I praised the inventor of Velcro as I fastened the straps on size-9 Spiderman shoes. As a final insult, before climbing into the back hatch of the man-van when the automatic doors opened, my son whacked his ride with a stick.

With the boys finally buckled in, I felt like a caricature of a dad from a Sunday comic strip: bloodshot eyes, slumped shoulders and mumbling obscenities. When I later crawled into the office, a gas station coffee in hand, I realized that though my socks were both black, they weren’t an exact match. How fitting.

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