My mother celebrated her birthday in 2013 in Alabama. My sister and I spent the day with her on the beach. We had a great time and laughed about a lot of childhood memories. I decided one in particular needed to be put in writing.
My mother has taught me a lot. She has given me the world, loved me since my first heartbeat and supported my every move. She has also set my socks on fire.
I was in middle school. She was recently divorced, renting a two-bedroom duplex, working two jobs and sleeping on the couch. It was the last load of laundry. She figured she’d wake up just long enough to fold it. But she was tired and so was the dryer. It blew its last breath of hot air sometime after midnight, still full of all our whites.
The death by natural causes went unnoticed until morning. By then I needed socks for school. But they were damp, time was short and patience was thin. Maybe it was because my mother was running on so little sleep. Maybe it was because she just wanted to make me happy. Maybe she just wanted to shut me up. Whatever the reason, she threw my socks into the microwave like two strips of bacon and set them to nuke.
The appliance buzzed. The socks spun around. Then came flames. Tiny, tube-sock-sized flames and a puff of smelly smoke. She stamped out the overdone cotton with a dish towel and gave them a shake. A small, brown finger-sized hole in the heel was the only damage. The nuclear bomb hit the ocean, but spared the town.
It was time to leave for school. I pulled on my shirt, pants and a crisp, clean, still warm, and possibly radioactive, pair of burnt socks. All day no one would ever know about the charred remains of my mother’s effort except me.
I’ve watched my mother work her entire life to make sure my sister and I have what we need when we need it. We have her love and it is endless. For that, I am forever thankful. I know my mother would do anything for me. Even microwave my socks.