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Aren’t Sock a Fun Gift?

“More dumb socks!” Molly shouted and threw the pink ruffled socks and cute tennis shoe socks across her living room. Then she ran to her bedroom. Her mother, feeding Molly’s newborn brother, shook her head and apologized.

I laughed and accepted the apology. As I had shopped for a baby gift, I chose socks for Molly and put them in a brightly colored, girly gift bag. Molly was four, adjusting to life as a big sister, and more dumb socks were not going to make her life easier. Better that she threw the socks than her baby brother.

Molly’s mother found her hiding in the back corner of her bedroom closet. No doubt, Molly knew throwing socks and screaming weren’t acceptable behavior. She flung herself into her mother’s arms and wiped her tears and nose on her mother’s shoulder. After a few minutes, Molly muttered, “I’m sorry,” and eventually held her head high and smiled.

I watched Molly grow up in church. She lit candles as an acolyte and sang with children’s and youth choirs. She led the congregation in worship as liturgist. Molly was a leader – confident and friendly to everyone: children, her peers, and adults. Her smile was exactly the same as when I handed her a gift bag years ago.

Last May when Molly graduated from high school, my traditional gift of a beach towel wouldn’t be in her gift bag. I found a pair of bright colored argyle winter socks, perfect dumb socks, on the sale rack, and I hoped the gift card, hidden inside one sock, wouldn’t be overlooked or thrown into the trash.

Husband delivered the gift bag to Molly’s father at his workplace, and I looked forward to hearing that Molly’s family’s sense of humor kicked in when she opened her gift. But I never heard from them. Not a word. Husband assured me he’d put the gift in Molly’s father’s hand and he’d expressed appreciation. Did he forget to give it to Molly? Was she angry that I’d given more socks? Did she find the gift card? I couldn’t bring myself to call her mother to ask.

Months later, Molly’s mother and I visited during a church gathering. “Did you get Molly’s thank you note for her graduation gift?” she asked. Silently, I breathed relief that she’d received the gift, and I hated to shake my head. “Oh, no. I was afraid of that. She loved the gift. We all laughed! Dumb socks is a family joke at our house.” Again, I was relieved.

“Molly wrote a note and I offered to mail it,” Molly’s mom said. “I had guessed you didn’t get it. I probably never mailed it. I’m so sorry.”

A week later, I received Molly’s note. Written beautifully and a P. S. stating, “I do LOVE the socks! J”  And her mother had written on the outside of the envelope, “I finally found it!”

Molly is now a college student and when she receives another diploma, she’ll get another pair of dumb socks. Maybe polka dot ones.



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