I love new socks. The feeling of that pristine cotton that is shiny new, so soft and as yet unspoiled by dirty feet. They haven’t been washed, stretched, ripped or stinkified. They seem perfect. There was a time I thought that I’d wear new socks every day if I could, but I’m not nearly that interesting or quirky.
If you think about it, our kids are a bit like new socks. They are born as perfect little beings that haven’t taken in any of the stink of the world yet. Starting with the moment of birth we spend our time trying to protect them from the world, themselves and even us. There are “stinks” of all kinds that include artificial ingredients, pollution, riding a scooter without a helmet, Hannah Montana and the list goes on. How do we keep them away from all these bad things? Maybe we shouldn’t. I’m not saying that there isn’t a long list of things that we absolutely need to protect them from – there is and I don’t need to list them here. Protecting our kids from real danger is our number one job as parents as I so often remind my son, to his great dismay. I’m just saying that I’ve recently started to realize (yes, it’s only taken me six plus years) that maybe I need to let go a bit. I need to let my son experience the world, make some mistakes, scrape a knee or two. Not every moment is a learning experience – some are just experiences.
If life was a series of the same new socks day after day it would get pretty boring. Those new socks would start to lose their luster because they’d all be the same. What makes us all unique individuals and interesting is our collection of unique experiences, habits and preferences (some good, some bad). Parenting has taught me many things, but I never thought I’d learn to love my old socks along the way.