Sunday, March 21, 2010

Little Orphaned Footie

Every family has one. Known only as "the sock bag", this bag holds the lost, orphaned mates to matched pairs. There they lie, in hopes that an eventual reunion with their mate may someday be made.

Our sock bag is monstrous. Our sock bag is the stuff of legend. You think I kid. Oh, I do not. I would not kid about something so serious as a giant, overstuffed sock bag. I present proof of this hideous, ever-growing monstrosity:

A full cubic foot of stray socks

Our sock bag started out small. A stray sock here or there, nothing major. I think that might have been 13 years ago when there were just babies toddling around the house. And then something happened. Something horrible. (Something that Stephen King might take interest in.) The sock bag began to mutate. Or so it appeared. One day, I decided to count: 70 unmatched socks in the sock bag. 70! But wait, there's more: the sock bag has now grown even larger.

I dare not count them now.

We will buy brand-new socks for our four children, and only a few weeks later one of the new socks will find its way into the sock bag, having already lost its mate. Orphaned so soon? How does this happen?

I was assured when we purchased our washing machine that it had a non-sock-eating feature, so they aren't being gobbled up by the washer. So where are all the socks? And only the childrens' socks go missing; my socks and hubby's seem to be unafflicted by this malady.

The other day, my oldest daughter pointed to one of the socks and informed me that its mate was chewed up by the neighbor's dog. Okay, that's ONE sock. Where are the other 70+? We've turned the kids' bedrooms upsidedown, we've made a game out of the Giant Sock Hunt, and even looked in places we've never thought to look. Occasionally, one or two might turn up, but so far, we are not making a lot of headway on reducing the size of our sock bag.

Where ARE the socks?!

Sometimes I will find a sock outside, where I will joyfully rescue it and bring it in. A few times I have spotted socks out under the deck, becoming "one with the earth", decomposing to the point of no return. Those socks make me kind of sad.

I'm very bothered by the sock bag. I'm one of those people who likes everything in its place. Missing game or puzzle pieces drive me crazy. So you can see why the sock bag sends me into orbit. Here's the sock bag, dumped out:

While taking this photo, I swear I saw the pile move!

I keep all the socks. I've never thrown any of them away--in all these years. There are socks in there--baby socks--that no longer fit any of our children. But I know--I JUST KNOW--that the minute I toss that cute little baby sock, I will find its mate. There's gotta be one of those Murphy's laws or something that covers that.

Perhaps the biggest problem isn't the size of the sock bag. Perhaps it's me. It is rather odd that a person continues to hold on to socks that no longer fit anyone in the family. Maybe I don't want to toss those socks because they once fit my children and I can't bear the fact that they are growing older and more independent (the children, not the socks). Oh, horrors: am I becoming one of those hoarders? *shudders*

Occasionally, I will sit a family member down and instruct them to find mates to the sock bag. Sometimes we will find a few matches, so there is hope that maybe the sock bag won't need to graduate to the next larger bag size. Here's my oldest, Alyssa, (note grimace), tackling the sock bag:

I'm afraid I may have to resort to bribery in the future. This task is becoming more and more distasteful.
Another theory as to why I hang onto the sock bag and all its lonely occupants may be that the sock bag is simply representational of my outlook on life: an ever-hopeful, optimistic outlook that believes every lost thing will someday find its place, its rightful owner...its home. Yes, perhaps that's it: the sock bag is symbolic!
Then again, maybe I'm just full of it. ;-)