A Sock Monkey Winter
It’s a “Sock Monkey” winter at our house this year! My almost-two-year-old son received this darling knit hat from his Granny for Christmas. Prior to this, my son refused to wear a hat which limited our time playing in the snow. I tried to coax him in many creative and humorous ways but to no avail. I would act goofy wearing my own hat. I offered to let him wear my hat. I tried bribery. I did all but stand on top of my head to convince him that wearing a hat was fun. He was not interested, period. Then along came the “Sock Monkey” hat!
To say that my son loves this hat would be an understatement. He adores this hat. He puts the hat on all by himself. He even wears the hat indoors! This hat is magical, I declare! His enthusiasm led me to learn more about this crazy looking, red-mouthed monkey, called “Sock Monkey.”
Did you know that the Sock Monkey is considered American folk art? Crafty American began making this unusual creature out of socks over 60 years ago. But not just any sock. They used the now patented Red Heel work sock by the Nelson Knitting Mills in Rockford, Illinois. The town in fact is still known as “The Home of the Sock Monkey.” The town even hosts an annual “Sock Monkey Madness Festival.” This coming March will be their 9th festival.
Although Fox River Mills has taken over the Nelson Knitting Mills, you can still make a classic sock monkey from their patented Rockford Red Heel® socks. Fox River even has the instructions on their website. I’ve caught the fever myself and hope to make my son a classic Rockford Red Heel sock monkey soon. Who would have ever thought that the creation of a simple work sock would lead to so many adorable little toys for children? I’ve read that these sock monkeys were first created during the Great Depression. This confirms what my mother has always told me. “Necessity breeds creativity.”
As we fast approach the holidays, Thanksgiving Day will be here first. This is a day which reminds me to count all my blessings. Although I try to be mindful of all my blessings each day, the hustle and bustle of routines and deadlines interfere with this thought process. I forget to take a moment and just reflect upon all I have, not material things but those things that tug at the heart-strings. One of those is my relationship with my mother.
My mom is my best friend. She is my son’s Mamaw, whom he adores! She has spent her entire life making sure I was well taken care of and continues to worry over me even though I am a grown woman, fully capable of caring for myself. I never understood the love she has for me until I became a mother. I thought I knew but, looking back, I didn’t have a clue. The love a mother has for her child is beyond description. It comes from the deepest part of the soul and is pure and beautiful in form. I am so thankful to have been blessed with the kind of mother who values family and God above all else. Material possessions come and go as easy as the wind. But the bonds and ties of a close-knit family endure a lifetime.
My mother has taught me how to be a mother to my son. She continues to teach me about what truly matters in life and I pray that I have her in my life as a teacher for many years to come.
She is the first person I run to for advice. She is the first person I call to share good news (or bad news) with. If I forget the last ingredient in a recipe, yes you guessed it, I call her. I go to her for everything. She is my mother. But sixteen months ago she took on a new and even more important title. She was crowned my son’s “Mamaw”. The relationship that’s growing between her and my son holds more magic in it than all of Disney and MGM put together. It’s better than a weekend full of sappy Lifetime movies mixed in with a little Barney and some Wiggles. My heart leaps almost out of my chest with joy when I see my mother’s face light up brighter than the Fourth-of-July in the simple presence of my son.
Since having “my little miracle”, the relationship between me and my mom has taken a new and better direction. We are closer and relate to each other more than ever before. It’s as if we were just introduced to each other for the first time the day of his birth. Perhaps I am the one who has changed the most, resulting in a deepened and humbled respect for her as a mother and a woman. I am in awe of the absolutely incredible job she did in raising me and my brother. In retrospect, I do not know how she managed at times.
When I was 12 (and my brother was 4), my parents divorced. My mother did not even have her high school diploma at that time, but she was determined to be able to support us on her own. She obtained her G.E.D. and went to nursing school. I remember seeing her studying a lot during that time but she never allowed it to interfere with her role as a mother. She managed to care for us flawlessly (cook, clean, do laundry, etc) and earn excellent grades in unison. She graduated as an L.P.N. within one year (an accelerated program). She went on to have a very successful career in the medical field and we (me & my brother) never lacked for anything. She maintained and re-enforced the value of the family by keeping a respectful relationship with our dad. She attended our school functions. She spent quality time with us. She was everything a mother should be while still devoting a lot of time and energy to her career. If there is some sort of award for “super-mom” out there, this woman deserves it!
Now, it’s her turn to relax and soak up all of the love a toddler has to offer. I am honored to be a part of this. She continues to amaze me with her capacity to love and care. My son is a very lucky boy to have her as his Mamaw. And I am a very lucky woman to have her as my Mom.
“A mother becomes a true grandmother the day she stops noticing the terrible things her children do because she is so enchanted with the wonderful things her grandchildren do.” ~Lois Wyse