Our Sock Fireplace

I wrote this post back in 2008!  I recently was searching for this photo in my albums and couldn't find it so I'm bringing the whole post here again.  Happy Times.  So Many Socks.  These kiddos are all grown up now but I love them all and remember all those fun summers together.

Phot from 2004 of Broc and I and all FIVE of the kids and Socks
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Over on the Always Unschooled yahoo list, there has been some discussion of socks. I haven't read the whole thread but it seems to be about a parent complaining about lost socks or perhaps dirty socks that they have to take care of and Schuyler responded with this:

I honestly will have a hard time keeping him in clean socks if I don't have some cooperation from him.-----------------"What does that mean? It's summer, right? It isn't much of a season for socks,clean or otherwise. Go buy tons of socks, find them on sale, don't worry about quality, get quantity. Put them near the washing machine and bring him pairs every time you wash his clothes. Fill his drawers with socks. Make him feel rich in socks. It won't cost a lot. It seems a very strange moan needing cooperation to keep him in socks. They are just socks. Just minutia. Just a small thing to make his life better and more comfortable. Not something to need cooperation to obtain...."

Exactly. They are just socks. And such a small thing. It's really so easy to make our lives better every day in the smallest ways. Buy more socks. So another post on this came from Sandra Dodd and I'm borrowing it for here also. Sandra is referring to the sock thread and why and how she see that her family has clean clothes......

"When the kids were little, I would put it folded in their drawers or on their shelves. I did that for Kirby until he left, because I understood his system well. Marty's was more mysterious and particular, so I'd put the stuff on his bed. Holly sorts shirts in certain ways, so I would give her the pile on the bed or in a basket.Lately, Holly helps me sort into baskets and the baskets might go unfolded into the correct rooms. I fold mine and Keith's in our room. I hang Marty's work clothes on a rack near the dryer.I'm telling all this because even with grown kids who could absolutely take care of themselves if I died or if they moved away, I'm still doing laundry for them because I want to free their time up to do more interesting things. I started running out of ways to express my affection and to support their interests when they had jobs and cars, but this is a thing I can still do. If I decided it was hurting me, I could turn around and hurt them. Lots of parents do that.If I decide it's a way to show affection, I turn around and show them affection."

I just love this! So many parents make their kids do their own laundry even from very young ages because.."It's good for them"....or "They need to learn how to do it on their own and take responsibility" I think its because they don't want to hire help and don't want to do it themselves. It's all wrapped up in their multitude of reasons for making their kids do chores. None of which really are going to help their child feel loved. Okay............off my soapbox but I'll probably write more about this all later...On to my REAL reason for this post!

Years ago, when my step kids came to spend some of the summer with us,
there often seemed to be some issue when they went home with their mom because they didn't always get home with all their socks. I'm not sure what happened to them...maybe they went to sock heaven with all the other socks that are lost around here. I was always taken aback yet if the socks turned up along with anything else they left, I would mail them back. I just never got it but looking back I wished I had just gone and bought them each a couple of dozen packs of socks to send back with them so that nothing would mar their memories of their visit with us...especially getting in trouble for not getting home with all their socks.

Their home life is quite different than the life they experience here and I'm hopeful that happy memories from their time with us will be a poistive influence on their lives and maybe even the way the parent their own children.

Anyway, tha'ts a long preamble about the picture in this post. It was taken many years ago (maybe 5?) and was the summer after we had discovered unschooling. I used the picture on our Christmas cards that year.

I posted about the "Our Sock Fireplace" on Unschooling.com message boards and the sock thread reminded me of it. I searched through some pictures and old files (I mean old files like boxes on the floor files!) and found this in a folder called "Unschooling" where I had printed out e-mails and articles that I wanted to save. So...here it is again....My Sock Fireplace written July 26, 2004

I woke up a little sad this morning. My husband left on a business trip at 4:00 a.m. Brenna and Logan are still asleep and the house is way too quiet. My 3 stepkids left yesterday to go back home to Texas after being with us for the summer. It's always such an adjustment for me to go from being "mom" to 5 and then back to 2. In a day or so, I'll appreciate having more quiet and a smaller grocery bill but I'm not there yet.

I was just sitting here having my coffee, reading an e-mail from my stepduaghter who wrote at 11:00 last night about missing us and I glanced over at the fireplace and just had to grin! It's covered in socks.

The night before they left, we were up late talking and folding all the clean clothes so we could pack them up. One of the boys threw a sock up into the ceiling fan as it was spinning around. It went flying and landed on my head! We all started throwing socks up there and the fan blades were flinging them all over the room. Half an hour later, we are all still laughing and socks are flying as we find different ways to catapult them across the room or gather them all together and have them all fling off at once.

One flew up and stuck to a brick on the fireplace. The kids realized how easily they stuck and before I knew it, all the white socks (56 I think) were up there along with a few bras hanging from the nails we use for Christmas stockings!

Yesterday before we took them to the airport, we took a family picture of us sitting on the hearth with all the socks. A teenage neighbor boy stopped by last night to visit and when he saw our fireplace just shook his head and said..."Man, you guys are just weird..)

Some of the socks left with the kids that live in Texas but all of ours are still up there and I'm not taking them down for awhile...It's such a reminder to me that before unschooling I would never had had socks on my fireplace...and I would not have had all these wonderful memories.

Okay, if you've taken the time to read all this, Thanks! I'm done and very happy that I found this picture. And still thankful every day that we found unschooling and that we've "stayed weird."


Sandra Dodd said…
I read it the first time and now I'm even happier to read it because now I know you guys.

One of the photos I put in the collection I gave Holly for use on the Learn Nothing Day art was Broc in armor in our front yard. It didn't fit well into any of the shapes, but it was this one, so your blog readers can see it.

Madeline said…
What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing that. I love that story and the reminder as to why I used to be on the lists, like Always Unschooled. Made me think about going back. Though we have no sock issues, I could always use support. I also love the picture of Brock as a knight!
Randi said…
Interesting aspect of doing your kids' laundry for them. We just had a discussion the other night regarding kids doing their own laundry...and in our household (with no kids yet) we're still working on the concept of no chores - but interesting that one can see it as a way to show love.....doing simple things as of having tons of socks. Thanks for the thought!
Jeff said…
Gail, that's beautiful - it reminds me that we need to relax and enjoy life to it's fullest.
kelli said…
Beautiful Gail. I had never read about your sock experience :) Awesome!

It makes me pause and be grateful before I get all grumpy over all our shtuff all over the place right now.
Deanne said…
I'm smiling thinking about how much fun it must have been to see the socks all flying, and that leading to *sticking* them up on the fireplace. Thanks for sharing that story.
Alex Polikowsky said…
Thank yo so much for sharing that again as I was not around 5 years ago to have read it.
The one thing I miss the most are my two stepkids in NC from my first marriage. I have not seen them in years but I've keep in touch with my ex and now I am going to be a Grandmother!!!
Those two kids thought me a lot!!

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