I began writing “Odd Socks Ella” when I was pregnant with my son, Bodhi (who is now 18 months old) when I was contemplating school for Ella the following year. I had all kinds of concerns about sending her to school, an institution, knowing that school is not always the best thing for children. My writing started to express that what I want for my daughter was for her to be independent and free, to create what she chooses and to be free to choose how to express herself, whether in art, physical movement, technology or in the way she dresses. After writing my first draft of the story (of many!! Haha. And I’m still drafting!!), I decided to learn how to paint so I could paint the illustrations. This has been an amazing adventure and a re-birthing of my love of style (more on that another time).
Now about the real Ella. As mentioned, this year, we faced a pretty huge decision. What would we do about Ella’s education? Would we send her to school or would we educate her at home? We looked into many different types of schools, public, private, Steiner, independent and home schooling and settled on the school that we were zoned for knowing that we could change our mind in the future. Ella has mostly enjoyed it but she does feel quite overwhelmed at times. This one particular day, it reached a peak and bribery of all forms was failing with Ella screaming and stomping and down right refusing to go to school. Trying to think quickly and keep my composure, I did what all good, counselling-and-welfare-trained-parents do (haha). I asked her what she was feeling. Her response actually surprised me a little. She said she was feeling scared. She listed a bunch of things she was afraid of, but it all came down to, what happens if something happens to me and you’re not there to make it better? My mind was in a paradox of feeling complete guilt that I hadn’t supported her to build some resilience, to feeling completely sad that I couldn’t be there for her because I felt like I had to go to work, to realising that we all have the exact same fears even as adults “what if something happens and I won’t be able to handle it on my own?”
I told her that when she is feeling scared, she could try wearing something black. I explained that black is the colour of protection and that’s why Batman’s suit is black. That Batman was actually afraid of bats and his costume reminds him that he is brave. I told her that she could wear whatever she could find so long as she also wore her school dress. She came back with a pair of my socks. I actually don’t ever remember wearing these and I probably never will but on her, they were perfect.
I told her that when she’s feeling scared, to remember that she has Mum’s black socks and that that means I am there for her in spirit and she is brave. She did one better than me by saying that when she’s feeling scared, the socks will remind her to talk to her teacher. I’m really glad that Ella has such an understanding and compassionate teacher. It was hard enough (and is still hard if I’m honest) to send her to school but it helps so much more that her teacher has similar values to what I do and does such an incredible job at looking after and educating her.
She then told me that she doesn’t want to be scared or sad anymore. That she wants to be happy. I told her that she might like to find something yellow as yellow is the colour of sunshine, sunflowers and happiness and that wearing something yellow could remind her to be happy (I thought later about what the two colours together mean.. Think bees, wasps, python snakes, haha). She returned with her yellow shoes.
We walked into school with our heads held high on this day. I didn’t care that we were breaking the school rules by not wearing the uniform exactly right, I didn’t care that we were late and I was going to be late for work because really, just getting her to school some days, feels like an enormous accomplishment!! And more than that, Ella was now skipping to class, she had found her happiness and I realised that she is so so resilient already. She does have the answers within. She is brave. She is strong. Annnnnd she has incredible style. Don’t ya think? 😉
Click here to download your own copy for you or your children to colour in too. We would love to see them!
And if you like, you can share them onto the Facebook page Odd Socks!!
Edit: I later did some Energy Clearing about my parenting and Ella’s birth energy. You can read about that here.