Thursday, September 20, 2007

Have Socks, Will Run

Last year I missed all of Jester's Cross Country meets. I had just had a baby and it was a very cool fall, so I chose to stay home. Every time I did Jester's laundry during the CC season, I would wash a pair knee high teal and black striped socks that he had worn as part of a Munchkin costume in his school's production of The Wizard of Oz earlier in the year. When I rolled them together into a ball, I would wonder why he was wearing them to school. I always forgot to ask him.

Then the end of the CC season arrived. The coach hosted an end of the season banquet, complete with awards and presentation showing photos of the runners throughout the season. I made sure I attended this event since I had missed seeing him run.

Another mom approached me prior to the power point presentation. She said, "I just love the socks Jester wore at the meets. We could always pick him out of the crowd." My heart rate increased as my smile became artificial. Flashbacks of washing and folding teal and black knee highs came to mind. It couldn't be. He had to have been wearing them to school under jeans, not at CC meets with shorts. I hesitantly asked, "Uh, what socks are you talking about?" Chuckling, she said, "Oh, those striped knee highs, what a hoot! At the meets, parents from other teams would comment on his unique choice in socks."

The room started to spin around me. Paranoia set in. I was envisioning everyone around me staring, pointing, talking, and laughing about Jester's socks. I was certain they were discussing how poor we were, unable to afford a pair of no show socks like all the other runners wore. Why would Jester's parents dress him in teal and black knee highs when the school colors were black and gold? I was wishing I could shrink away into oblivion. Thankfully the lights dimmed and the attention shifted to the power point presentation.

One photo in particular will be etched in my mind forever. It is a photo of all the runners at the starting line taken from the knees down. Every set of legs in the photo shows only skin and then running spikes....except one. A boy whose only skin showing is at the knees and then a teal stripe, black stripe, teal stripe, black get the picture...all the way down to the spikes. To make matters worse, the photo was titled in very large letters with Jester's name in quotation marks. My cheeks were turning warm with embarrassment as I heard the roar of laughter and clapping in the room.

On the way home I asked him why. "Why would you want to stand out like that?" He just smiled and said, "Those are my favorite socks. Besides, Coach likes my individuality." How could I argue with that? Hadn't we been teaching him for 15 years to be himself, to not be someone he isn't? I had to come to terms with my humiliation, and the memory began to fade until...

This season. Jester was very concerned about his sock situation. His teal and black socks had huge holes in them, and had gladly been taken out of commission by me. He really wanted a pair of knee high gold and black tiger striped socks, but couldn't find any. However, we did find a pair to express his individuality. He's in the gold shirt and black shorts:

Here is a back view of the socks, I think he looks like a bumble bee. Notice how bare the other boys' legs are:
That's my boy. I don't think he will ever become a victim of conformity.

(If anyone comes across gold and black tiger striped knee highs, please let us know.)


  1. Thought I'd pop over and say HI! You probably don't remember me from Hamlin. My sister was Valorie S. Anyways, I read back a few posts and love your site. I'll probably be back again sometime.
    Oh, the weight loss thingy - I'm so with you on that. I was just talking to my hubby this morning about how fat I feel. He told me to "go jump on the tread mill." Like I didn't know that would help - I just hate doing it. Wish I could afford a personal trainer!!

    By the way - love the socks!

  2. It is so great that he is not afraid to express himself! Courtney is a lot like that too...I am always telling her she can't do "this or that" because people will talk or think we are weird and she says "SO"....and I guess that is what we have taught them. "Do as I say not as I do"...perfect example here....glad she does as I said.

  3. Elihah-Jehovah is God

    "I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with Thee." (Psalm 139:14).


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