Socks vs. No Socks
I was really relieved to find a ride back to Jerusalem from my daughter’s high school, saving me an hour and a half shlep to and on the bus home.
And then the mother driving started talking about a topic which is of great importance to her: Socks.
At that school, she said, the girls have to wear socks but the mothers don’t wear socks. And that is why that school is going downhill.
And at that other school, she said, the girls have to wear socks and the mothers wear socks. And the principal even kicked out a youth-group counselor who was seen after school not wearing socks. And that’s consistency: true education.
And I cannot tell you how little I could relate to what she was saying.
But I used to be different.
I used to spend a lot of time, like this mother, thinking about socks. Was that other mother wearing them? Or was she not? And what did that say about her? And, more importantly, should I wear socks? Should I not wear them? Should my daughters wear them? Or should they not? And what did that say about me and us?
I would go back and forth, for a year or so deciding, “I will only leave the house wearing socks,” and then deciding for a year or so, “Nope, I’m not THAT religious. I’m not wearing socks anymore.”
In fact, this was such an important issue to me that for several years I would spend an hour a day walking my daughters back and forth to a different neighborhood, since the alternative gan 5 minutes from my house would require my daughter AND me to wear socks. And I didn’t want to. It was just too much. It just wasn’t me.
And then something switched in my attitude.
And after that switch took place, for several years, I sent my kids to gans and cheiders that required me to wear socks. And I did so happily. With none of my sock hang-ups of former years.
And nowadays sometimes I wear socks and sometimes I don’t. And whether other women are wearing socks? I know so many deeply religious women whom I respect profoundly on both sides of sock divide. I just stopped caring.
So when did that fateful switch take place?
It happened the day I was looking through some of our family photo albums. And I saw photos of myself during sock-wearing periods. And photos of myself during sock-free periods.
And it was funny to think how much angst and identity-searching had accompanied my choice of footwear, cause, in all the photos, from the calves up I looked exactly the same.
Socks or no socks, for better or for worse, I was always me.