Socks for Kerry

Socks for Kerry

From Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

Socks for Kerry

“Mom, Kerry just crawled through the plans for my invention, and her leg brace ripped it up!” shouted Jessica.

“You know you can’t spread out your work on the floor when she’s around,” said her mother. “Just be thankful she can crawl at all.”

I’m so tired of hearing about poor little Kerry. What about me? thought Jessica.

Then, sighing, she said, “Yeah, right.”

Yesterday, Jessica had brought home an announcement for the Invention Convention at her school. The kids in her fourth-grade class were asked to invent a useful item, make a prototype, and show how it worked. “This convention is really going to be cool,” she told her mother. “The only trouble is, I want to help someone solve a real problem, but I can’t think of anything good.”

“I’m sure you’ll do fine,” said her mom.

“Kerry, stop!” yelled Jessica as Kerry kicked Jessica’s homework around. “Mom!” she implored, but her mother just shrugged, sighed, and went back to the dishes.

Kerry, Jessica’s sister had heart trouble. Just after she was born, Kerry’s heart rate had raced out of control. The doctors were able to slow down her heart with medication, but not before it caused her to lose some of the use of the left side of her body. Still, she learned to crawl almost as soon as any baby would, and her weak leg didn’t stop her from being a normal pesky little sister. To Jessica it felt like Kerry, and her other little sister Katie, spent all day thinking up ways to bug her when she got home from school.

Suddenly, Kerry plopped herself down on the floor and started crying. She pulled at the brace on her leg. “Booboo,” she whimpered. Her sock had fallen down again and the brace had rubbed a large raw patch on her calf.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” said Mom, scooping up the baby in her arms. “Look at her leg. I hate to keep her in tights when it’s so warm.”

“That’s it!” Jessica exclaimed. “I know what I’m doing for the Invention Convention!”

“What?”

“Let me work on it for a while and I’ll show you.” She rushed upstairs, collected a few things from her mother’s room and something from her sisters’ room, and then locked herself in her own room to work undisturbed.

When she finally emerged two hours later, she was clutching what seemed like a jumble of socks. “Hey, Mom, look at this. I made a special sock for Kerry.” Jessica held it up and pointed. “See, it has these Velcro straps on the top that hook around the top of her leg brace and then reattach to her sock. That way the socks can’t fall down and Kerry’s leg is protected.”

“What a wonderful idea! Let’s try them on her,” said Mom. “Look, Kerry, Jessica made some new socks for you.” Katie clapped as she jumped up and down. Kerry smiled, and thumped her hand against the floor as her mother put the new sock on under her brace.

The next day, Jessica brought her invention to school. When she got home, Kerry and Katie greeted her at the front door, chattering noisily. They hugged her legs and pulled at her. Jessica lost her balance and they all fell to the floor in a heap, laughing and tickling each other.

“How was the Invention Convention Jessica?” asked her mother. “Were the kids and your teacher impressed with your socks?”

“It was okay, I guess. My invention wasn’t as cool as Jane’s thing that organized her video games, or Nicole’s contraption that opened a soda without breaking a nail, or Sandy’s Band-Aid dispenser.”

“Those things are really interesting, but I like your idea better—it’s more helpful,” her mom replied.

“Yeah. I wanted to do something for a real person who needed help.” Jessica said as she tweaked Kerry on the nose. “Well, almost a real person.” They all laughed.

Jessica’s socks won first prize in her fourth-grade class. After winning a district-wide competition, she represented her town in the state-level convention at the Garden State Arts Center.

“What an honor! What an accomplishment!” everyone said to her.

Yes, Jessica won the contest, and she was proud; but what really made her feel warm inside was when Kerry looked up at her with a smile that said it all. That’s when she knew she’d won something truly important—a special place in her little sister’s heart.

Barbara McCutcheon Crawford

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