The Fray

I live by a mom uniform (which has been challenged recently when I picked up a new client, working 12 hours a week in their office)… a pair of jeans, a “drapey” tee (read: one size too big to make me feel skinny), some flats, my dainty necklaces featuring the initials of my girls (lest I forget), a pair of studs, and occasionally both my hair and make up done (usually it’s one or the other, which usually means make up… like, if you have a nice looking face, people will think “oh, she ran out of time to fix her hair,” whereas if I did my hair and not my make up, it would be like, “huh. That hair is okay. But look at that poor girl’s ratchet face.”).

I reach for one of two categories of jeans: some crisp, fresh, wide legged pairs if I’m needing a pick-me-up or a worn-in, much-loved pair… equipped with just enough frays, snags, and stains to cloak fresh spit up, marker smears, dried on Play-Doh and just general sticky fingers (often my own). The ones I don’t reach for? The ones that are just in-between. Not new enough to feel fancy; not loved enough to be comfortable yet. Instead, they’re just rumpled. Crumpled. Frumpled (you know the ones I mean). Not the pair that anyone reaches for unless it’s the only pair left.

That’s where I am right now, really. I’m the “inbejeans” these day (thanks, Ann, for the terminology). Maybe some other women feel that way… stuck in the transition from new to frayed. I’m stuck right there in the fray. Being frayed is not nearly as lovely as the end result, is it? The wearing away of much loved spots. The distressing of swaths of fabric. The creasing and re-creasing of yards of material. The shredding of fiber that once held tightly but is just a little cozier when it’s separated.

Some days it feels like my nerve endings are exposed to the world as I pretend to expertly waltz from one bucket of life into another. But if you’ve seen me dance, you’ve probably mistaken it for a seizure, and know that there is nothing expert or natural about my moves.

I never throw on my most tailored denim for a trip to splash in mud puddles with my oldest, nor do I slip into them for an intimate late night feeding with my youngest. Inevitably, I long to burrow into soft folds making memories with my girls, and hopefully, imprinting precious memories of me on to them. I want to build a legacy as lasting… even longer lasting… than a faded pair of Levi’s, but one that feels just as warm, welcoming, perfectly-fitting and dependable as those in the back of the closet.

I want to be the go-to. The safety. The haven. The warm embrace. I want to be ever-present. Ready. Sure. True. I can’t become that if I don’t endure the fraying now. A rumpled pair of “inbejeans” can’t make its way back to brand new again. Rather, its well on its way to becoming the Legacy jeans. The pair that feels like home. I long to be a safe harbor of Home to those I love most. And for now, that means feeling the rub, stretch, tug, wear, rips and shredding. Because the well-earned character and discomfort now… when it like I’m being stranded in the fray… means inching closer to the treasured goal of tomorrow. My legacy is ahead of me. My crispness is behind me… and if I’m honest, I would never want to go back because of what it would mean being without. But the rumples aren’t for nought. It’s in the fray where I earn my worth and keep.

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