It's about the holes in your jeans.

Somehow I blinked and eleven months have passed. My son--my final baby--is eleven months on the 5th of April. I'm baffled, and perhaps a titch upset.

Time is a dirty thief, stealing precious days right from under my All-Stars. I have a few choice words to say to him--time that is.

For the better part of the eleven months I've moved slower, which goes against everything I normally believe and do. I've been on my hands and knees more--the proof of that is found in the gaping holes in my favorite pair of Banana jeans. Man, they're my favorite, but my kids are even more my favorite. I'd kneel on the ground until my knees were bruised if it meant I could always have one of my kids running/crawling at full speed to jump into my arms. Elle is my best jumper so long as she doesn't overshoot the jump and land on her head, which sadly happens more than I'd like to admit. I'd own a dozen ripped jeans to roll around on the ground, tickling my kids sides, thighs and armpits, hoping to hear them laugh their real laugh--not this fake crap they've learned at school.

Over the last eleven months I let the kids do things that I would never have let them do in my earlier mothering years. Just the other day I let Timmy wrap his chubby, little fingers around my legs and hoist himself up to standing while I peeled potatoes. Gleefully he grabbed those potato peels out of the trash and threw them all over the floor. I grimaced inside and swatted any and all attempts at stuffing the peels into his mouth, but man did he giggle and grin. I stood their off balance due to his weight on my legs, glancing every so often at the clock in realization that dinner would not be on time because every step seemed to be taking just a bit longer, but it was okay. I didn't even feel panic in my heart--not one bit. I just whispered to myself that it was going to be okay and kept moving at a snail's pace happy as can be.

I would never have done that five years ago. Five years ago I was a woman on a mission. I had my invisible checklist (I'm not organized enough to keep an actual list), and I went through each day like a robot. Dishes done-check. Laundry done-check. Floors vacuumed-check. Daily learning-check. And so on and son on. But as I went through my lists I managed to miss opportunities that I regret so much. SO MUCH!!

Screw the dishes. Screw the laundry (luckily I think my kids thrive on being dirty so they won't mind wearing that pair of pants more than once). Screw all the lists in all the world. Holes in jeans is what it's all about; I will swear it to my dying day. You know those days when it seems like all you deal with is poop, tantrums and spills (that's pretty much every other day here), those days are quickly passing. little jerk.

I believe I've written it on here before, but I swear I think about it every single day; a good friend of mine--a woman my mother's age--mentored me for a couple of years while we lived in Texas. Of course, she didn't know she was my mentor, but every Sunday I sat in a small classroom at the very end of the church hallway and I listened to her teach about living with a purpose and being conscious of the present. She had birthed 4 children in a short amount of time, and when we moved to Texas her youngest daughter was finishing her final year of high school. Martha, my friend, would say to me, "Janine, I know I had piles of laundry and a billion boo boos to bandage, but I can't remember them. It's been erased from my memory." And then she would look at me on my difficult Sunday adventures, and she'd whisper, "This too will pass."

Oh my goodness, she's right. Why did it take me 8 years to get here?! Probably because it's impossible to see the end from the beginning, plus you add in all these babies, but I am almost jumping through my computer to grab whoever you are by the shoulders to scream, "IT'S ABOUT THE HOLES IN YOUR FAVORITE PAIR OF JEANS. BE PRESENT!"

Even now I'm thinking about tomorrow--Saturday--and I have a million things to do because there just aren't enough Saturdays in a week, and I'm worried I won't have time to do everything I want to do, but I'm not going to pass up cuddling with my baby (Tim) and then my babies (all of them) before putting one toe on the carpet to get out bed in the morning.

If you don't have kids, this post is still very relevant to you; I promise. I took college for granted. All those hours listening at the feet of scholars, and all I was always checking other boxes. Dating-check. Work-check. Term paper-check. I should've listened more. If you're not in college but not quite at that family stage yet--go get involved with something. Serve someone. Be someone. Love your partner in life and love your family/friends. Love yourself. (As a total sidetone, but something that I feel is very relevant brother has lived in Boston for nearly 2 years, and he wasn't really feeling involved there so what did he do...he enrolled in a woodworking class, and he just created the most stunning piece, and as a sister I am so proud of him because he could be doing a million things with his time and checking off a million checklists, but he is learning a new skill that interests him. And it inspires me.) So do that. Do something. Put holes in your jeans however you feel you must to be present and conscious of your own life.

It's worth it.

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