Before I drove 500 miles — fueled by herbs, cold medicine, coffee, and thrills for Natalie’s launch into college — there was the necessary sorting of the socks. For many years, our socks were routinely mixed up in the laundry (thanks to my wonderful does-all-the-laundry husband), and in recent years, just about all our other clothing too (as Natalie grew up and I grew thinner). It was easy enough to separate her size 6 jeans from my size-umm ones, but socks were far more complicated.
So as we were packing, it fell to me to sort the socks — from her drawers, my drawers, and corners of the laundry room. I ended up dumping everything on the kitchen table, trying to sort by color or size, but I quickly lost track of what I was doing because of the stories so many socks brought back, from the tiny pink embroidered toddler socks she still had to the many cool frog or Jewish star socks I found for her at airports over the years. There were also at least twice the amount of mateless socks as matching ones. Furthermore, she no longer wanted her teddy bear or giraffe socks.
In the end, I decided the socks needed to mate across species, and that if she would no longer wear the more idiosyncratic socks, I would. Although I managed to keep from crying too much in the sorting, I know that waiting at home in my sock drawer are now little surprises. I might lose it some days because I’ll be missing the previous wearer of such socks, but I know I’ll also find something too — like how much love brings together like with unlike and carries us forth into the world, one step at a time.