Sock. Shoe. Sock. Shoe.

Sock. Shoe. Sock. Shoe. No. Sock. Sock. Shoe. Shoe. I do sock, sock, shoe, shoe. How do you approach your morning routine?In the end does it really matter? In Ted Menton’s After Goodbye, he tells the story of two children in the throes of cancer arguing in the cancer ward about which is better. Sock. Shoe. Sock. Shoe. or Sock. Sock. Shoe. Shoe.

Worth Fighting About

In spite of the cancer scenario, I find it amusing that two children facing the fight of their lives still find their individual routine’s worth fighting about. Sock. Shoe. vs. Sock. Sock. I have never been a routine person. Not me. In fact, if you ever placed me into a box, I’d scrape and claw my way out of it.

All my life, I’ve been known for my spontaneous nature. Until my children died. Then, I took great comfort in my routine. It was what got me up in the morning. Linda, first put on your sock, then your shoe. Nope. Put on your sock. Now put on your other sock. Okay, put on your shoe. Now your other shoe. Now put one foot in front of the other. Now take a step. Okay. Move the other foot. Move forward. Step by step. Move through the pain. You can do it. Sock. Sock. Shoe. Shoe. Move. Move. And that’s how I’ve moved through the passing pain of losing two children.

Learning to Live Again

Most of you know Monday marked the five year anniversary of Sam’s passing. My 10 year old son. I have been in a routine for the past five years in learning how to live again through the loss. Sock. Sock. Shoe. Shoe. Move. Move. Don’t you take that routine away from me. Like the children on the cancer ward, I took great comfort in owning my routine. It was the only thing I had control over. God forbid I put on Sock. Shoe. Sock. Shoe. It didn’t feel right. Just like my life without my children. Come to think of it, before the passing of my children I think I did Sock. Shoe. Sock. Shoe. But I couldn’t go back to the same routine. It wasn’t right. I needed a new routine. It was new, but a routine, just the same. Just like living and breathing without half my family. I had to learn to do it all over again. The basics of living.

Cutting a Routine

Know how I celebrated Sam’s anniversary? The “non-celebration,” as it were, ended up in my mowing the lawn. Now my partner prides himself on the perfectly parallel lines in the lawn. I never got that. I don’t. To me a lawn is a lawn. And this just isn’t a lawn; it’s a field, a three acre field next to a stream. It deserves to be a field. But nope. He wants it to be a lawn. Not me. I want it to be a field with dancing grass blowing in the breeze, next to the stream. I want it mowed three times a season. He wants it mowed once a week. Now I love to mow, so I took on the chore. On Sunday, I started running the perfectly parallel lines of the routine. Sock. Sock. Shoe. Shoe. Up. Down. Up. Down. Forty-five inches over from whence I started. Now another 45 inch wide mowing deck over. Then a dragon fly landed on the dancing grass next to the stream in the field I was cutting into a routine.


Sam followed me across the country on my horse trip. Thousands of dragon flies followed me. They had my back. As Sam did. I wear a dragon fly bracelet as a remembrance of Sam. So I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t cut the field in parallel lines. I couldn’t cut the field so the dragon fly had no where to land. I couldn’t cut the field by way of routine. So in honor of Sam, I cut whoopsi-doodles. No rhyme or reason. Just by happen-chance, I have a field full of perfectly un-parallel lines. Perfect whoopsi-doodles where dragon flies can land on the missed grass of the 45 inch mowing deck. In the outskirts of the circles where 45 inches didn’t meet the other 45 inches. Where shoes come before socks. Where dragon flies land before parallel lines are cut. Where routines are lost and spirits soar. Where perhaps even socks are worn without shoes. For in the end, it just doesn’t matter.

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