This is a story about a sock. It was an ordinary white toddler sock that lay abandoned right in the middle of an otherwise cleared-off set of stairs. I happened to see this sock in the middle of the stairs the morning before I was leaving for a few days. Being a mom, I went to pick it up.
And then I thought, hmm, I wonder if I left that sock right there, would it still be there when I got home in four days? Could anyone else actually see the sock? I wasn’t trying to trick my family or find an excuse to be annoyed — as a matter of fact, I haven’t told anyone that I even ran the experiment.
I was thinking that the sock would probably be invisible to everyone but me. That was my hypothesis. And it’s not like I live in a family of jerks either. They are relatively polite, friendly, functional members of society. I just truly didn’t think that they would see the sock. It just wouldn’t exist for them.
This made me think about other things that only exist for moms. Things that we see that others just…don’t.
1. Hair that dangles in someone’s face
Maybe this is just me, but if I see hair in someone’s face, I immediately start looking for a barrette and may even begin to chase that person down. Is it just me? OK.
2. Clean laundry in a pile, but not yet folded.
I think, in the minds of many people (who may or may not be married to me), when laundry comes out of the dryer, it’s finished. For me (and every other single female person whom I have ever talked to), when laundry comes out of the dryer, this is when the real work actually begins — the folding, the putting away, the yelling for others to put their own shit away. It’s a never-ending cycle that can sometimes go on for days and cover the entire home with discarded material.
3. Dirt on faces
Me: Did you wash your face?
Me: Did you happen to look at your face before, during, or after you half-heartedly splashed water near your face?
Kid: (blank stare)
4. Whether or not something should be classified as a ‘shirt’ or a ‘dress’
Just because it covers your ass doesn’t automatically mean that it is a dress. Really.
5. Missing things
When my kids lose stuff, I like to play this game with them called “If I Find It First, It’s Mine.” This is a very effective way of getting my family to actually open their eyes and look, oh, I don’t know, up or down or in any direction that isn’t directly in front of their faces.
6. The moment someone is about to lose their mind
I can predict a meltdown just from the set of my kid’s chin minutes before it’s going to happen. I’m not as good at predicting what exactly is going to do the job, so I try to tread lightly. This is not the time for teasing or arguing or proving a point. It’s taken me almost 10 years, but I’m figuring some stuff out.
7. When someone is trying to get away with something
I see you sitting there on your iPad two seconds after I said not to get on it. I see you sneaking that piece of candy. I see you pinching your brother’s arm. I see your little tongue sticking out at me. I see everything.
I think I’m hardwired somehow to see the danger in every situation. This is annoying for my kids, I’m sure. Most of the time I can quell my fears and just let them do their thing, but every once in a while I just have to walk away from the “let’s see how far dad can throw the kids” situation.
These are just a few things that I see as a mom that nobody else does.
So, how did the story of the sock end? Well, this is where it was when I came home.
I laughed. I took a picture of it so that I could document the moment forever. And then I picked it up.