By Laura Moore
Before I could even process what had happened, my attempt to mindlessly dip my feet into my very favorite pair of jeans had resulted in five wiggling toes caught in a loom of threads, peaking out from broken fabric, stuck in a hole that didn't exist moments before.
I yelled in a panic.
Crap, crap, crap. Noooooooo!
My mind raced, as I tried to figure out how to undo the last thirty seconds, but no amount of panic, no amount of wishing, no amount of anything was going to change what had just happened. After spending the last four months crawling around on the floor with my spit-fire son, my son who is here and then there in a flash of an eye, my son who is curious about anything, who notices everything, who wants to be everywhere all at once, I had worn out my very favorite jeans, jeans that had traveled to Brazil, to Mexico, to the Dominican Republic, to New York City, to Italy, to England, to Los Angeles, to Chicago, to Miami....to...I could go on and on and on.
Those jeans outlived heartbreak. They comforted me when I switched careers. They gave me confidence during graduate exams. They were on my body the night I met my husband, and they smoothed and shaped and jolted me with a sense of you got this when I finally buttoned them over my mommy body in the months after I had our first child.
They were my jeans. My. Freaking. Awesome. Jeans. And it didn't matter that they weren't skinny-leg-in-style sort of jeans. Or what ever the newest, latest, hottest jean brand is right now (which I couldn't even name if I wanted to). Those jeans made me feel like a million dollars because they made me feel like me.
I steadied my breath as I dislodged my foot from the hole, as I pulled my toes from the white slivers that now covered the left knee, as I removed myself from the loose grip of fabric, as I dropped my jeans into a heap, and pulled my sleeve up to my face so I could soak up the silly, little tears that were beading up along the edge of my eyes.
Damaged, torn, ruined.
I turned back to my closet, leaving my jeans there in a pile, spread out across the floor, and I reached up and took a less desirable pair from the shelf. These will have to do, I thought, pulling them on, knowing full well I couldn't justify spending money on a pair of form fitting designer jeans right now...not when we had a baby, not when I was taking the year off of work, not when it truly didn't matter what kind of pants I was choosing to wear each day.
Once I got dressed, I exited the closet and stepped over what was left of My Favorite Jeans, looking at them one more time before I folded them up, before I put them back on the shelf, before I forced myself to let it go. And when I looked at them that second time, I caught myself thinking about all of the moments that wore down those threads. I caught myself thinking about all of the moments I spent playing with my son. Moments filled with following him across his planet, loving him and laughing with him. Moments that made me the new me, the mommy me, the me with torn knees and messy ponytails. The me who would do anything to make that little guy laugh.
I unbuttoned my imposter pants and cast them aside. Then I leaned down and scooped up my broken treasure. I carefully dropped my feet down each of the holes and wiggled my body into place, feeling the familiar hug of fabric wrapping around my skin. I punched the button through the hole, I pulled up the zipper and I ran my palms down the front.
People pay a good fortune to have jeans worn like this, I thought and you got yours the old fashioned way. Sure, they look different than they did when you bought them, but the changes came because they lived, really lived, down-on-the-ground-laughing-and-chasing sort of lived.
I turned around in the mirror and drew in a breath. They still feel so good and so snug and so comfortable, I thought. They still smooth me and shape me and jolt me. They still whisper--no matter how many bumps and bruises they've had--"You got this," loud and clear in my ear.
I took in another breath. "You got this," they said again, and even if I doubt it sometimes, even if I, myself, feel worn and tired just like the jeans, even if I feel like I'm hanging by a thread, on that day, in those pants, I actually felt like I could nod my head. I actually felt like I could answer, and so I did. I do have it, I said right into the mirror. I really think I do.