When my kids were a little younger we loved to read a book called “Lost Socks”. It follows the possible life of a lost sock and ends with the little boy discovering he has two pairs of socks… exactly the same! *Giggle* It’s a cute book with a good attitude.
Unfortunately, with a full house, my attitude towards lost socks is not always as good. I am forever finding one abandoned under the bed… making friends with dust bunnies. I have a shopping bag full of the creatures… mismatched and piled high because their partner has gone off to better places or is still travelling among the escaped Lego bricks. It got so bad at one point, we decided to buy all the same colour socks so we could match pairs randomly. I still have lonely ones in the bag! A friend of mine painstakingly pins his socks together so if he loses one… he loses both! Seriously?! I ain’t got time for that!
So what do we do with lost socks? My Pinterest board is full of ideas… sock puppets, stuffy toys, new mittens… all good things! My favourite option, however, is wear mismatched! Just like the little boy in the book. Be proud to be different! March 21st was World Down Syndrome Day (2018) and the social sites were scattered with folks supporting it — with none other than LOST SOCKS! I love it! World Down Syndrome Day was first observed in 2006 and encourages everyone “to raise public awareness of Down Syndrome”. One video that caught my eye was little Tabitha’s. I know her mom, and although I have met Tabitha only a few times, her warm smile brings joy to my heart. You can visit Tabitha’s YouTube video here.
I am not a mom to special needs kids. I have no idea how difficult it is to maneuver this world with a kid with downs, or on the spectrum, or with physical difficulties. Be that as it may — I have certainly loved a few. After volunteering in school for awhile, I was moved by the lack of support being given to teachers, parents and the special education students. So much so, that I returned to college to seek out some true education on the subject. (College in my 40’s! Whew… that’s another whole blog post!) My placements and research put me in the middle of the fire. And my heart melted because of it.
I could write a big, long, blog post about the inconsistencies and problems of the education system… but I am not. What I do think is important is supporting one another. Supporting our students, supporting our parents, and supporting our teachers and staff who make it their jobs to love these kids day in and day out. It’s hard enough to be with 30 kids at a time, let alone engage and initiate a love for learning in each one of them! I salute you! My heart is especially broken for those on the “fringe”. The truly lost sock — full of anger and frustration because they are trying to be connected and engaged and simply don’t fit anymore in the system the way it is. They aren’t truly identified as “special needs” and therefore don’t get the support they require to function well. Perhaps their families need the biggest support and can’t access it. They are mismatched and left to wander among the dust bunnies in the corner of the playground. They have collected some of those lost Lego pieces along the way and are trying to add it to the great tower with all the other kids… only to see it crash down again.
I am certainly no expert in the field. In fact, I am still quite intimidated by this special needs world. I don’t really know what to do, or say, or “fix”. But God is teaching me to love the mis-matched socks of this world. To appreciate the colours and patterns and wildness of those who might be full of holes and a little worn on the edges. Those covered in dust bunnies and carrying one lonely Lego piece to add to the tower. Maybe, just maybe, I can find the match for that lost sock. It might not be the right colour or style, but it will be one less lonely creature in that shopping bag full of lost socks.