#Writing #ParentProblems: O Holey Night

“Mo-om, these pants have a hole in them.”

“Mom, can I throw this sock away? It’s got a hole.”

“Not THAT hat, Mom, there’s a hole!”

Since the start of school Biff and Bash have put holes in three hats, five pairs of pants, two pairs of snow pants, six socks, and one snow boot. Hell, Biff still  has a hole in his smile.

It’s only taken, oh, EIGHT MONTHS for just one front tooth to show up.

The holes in the new Star Wars hat were particularly impressive. “What was he doing, growing horns?” said Bo when I showed him. Biff can only shrug as he kneels with his cars, the knees of these jeans already threadbare.

Unlike my grandmother, I am no seamstress. Better to find a pair of jeans at the thrift store for a couple of dollars than to poke my fingertips with a needle for hours. Unfortunately, this propels the vicious cycle of worn jeans wearing out faster with boys who love to crawl, kneel, wrestle, and so on. All I can do is keep the few pairs of still-kneed jeans safe for school while the torn pairs are worn on weekends. Surely God doesn’t mind seeing bare grubby knees in church now and again.

Curious: as a child, I never wore anything torn. Oh, we had hand-me-downs galore, but everything was always kept stitched and tidy. Perhaps it was a point of parenting pride for my mother, that even on so little, her children would always be presentable.

And to a point I have to agree: I can’t bring myself to take the kids on errands in their PJs. I’ll use my own spit to wipe a child’s face if I don’t see a bathroom anywhere. It’s a point of parenting pride that my kids are dressed and (mostly) clean.

But holes in knees, in sleeves? Pish. That’s what duct tape is for. The kids’ll outgrow those clothes soon enough.


It’s the holes in character I will not abide. Not as a writer, not as a mother.

What do I mean by holes in character? Lack of empathy. Kindness. Imagination. Ever since my boys were toddlers I’ve had to pull them apart, bear cubs down to the clawing hands and vicious growls. I’ve feared one, even both, could grow up to be a bully feared by other children. Ever since my daughter discovered technology I’ve feared that she’ll let the virtual world dance its pretty colors to bewitch her, each new button click a chip at her creativity until it is utterly broken and buried beneath the hulking troll of apathy. I’ve seen these holes in other children. They belittle, dismiss, hurt. And the earlier these holes appear, the bigger they’re going to get unless they’re patched.

Mothers are often seen patching holes, but what of our own holes? Ever since the summer of stitches my confidence in safety has been torn wide open. I’m quick to see the worst-case scenario in everything. You say “trip to the park,” I say “Falling off the monkey bars.” You say “swimming pool,” I say “drowning.” You say “getting groceries,” I say “running into an old lady while fighting with the grocery cart and knocking over a display of glass olive oil bottles.” (And I can say that because this nearly happened. I managed to stop the cart after only one bottle fell and not all several dozen.) Point is, I’ve a hard time patching up my fears. Damn hard, after seeing the blood pour from holes in my sons’ skin.

But the holes in Bash’s eyebrow, on Biff’s forehead–they healed. These little bear cubs may fight now and again, but they help each other, too. When Bash was too tired to keep trick or treating, Biff asked for candy to give his brother. When Biff was sick, Bash gave him extra blankets and comfie animals to hug.

And Blondie? Oh, Blondie. Sure, she enjoys her game time, but even she grows tired of the screen. She can build up and take down Lego concoctions for hours. She’ll make up conversations between characters in her favorite comics, and later draw her own.

More than anything else, each child is filled with unbridled joy over sharing love. Blondie’s excitement to use her own money to buy presents for her brothers. Bash’s happiness to snuggle with me next to the Christmas tree through the dawn. Biff’s glee to stand with me in the church choir and sing the Hallelujah Chorus, his voice loud and proud, so excited he cheered for us all at song’s end. “That was amazing! Fist Bump! High Five!”

So their snowpants are patched with duct tape. So we go back to the thrift store for more pairs of worn jeans. We’re all of us frayed somewhere, but that does not stop us from living. That is the mark of strong character: for all the scuffs and tears upon us, those tears do not destroy what’s in us. My children remind me of that every day as they run, knees popping in and out of decimated denim, lost in yet another story of their creation. Holes are nothing to the binding threads of love and imagination.

As 2018 draws to a close, I want to give a special thanks to all who have supported me on my journeys as a writer and mother. Your support here gives me the gumption to keep my chin up no matter what shit life threw at me. You are all blessings in  my life I shall never take for granted. 

Yup, these are mine. Couldn’t be prouder. πŸ™‚

Now, let’s see what 2019 shall bring us, eh? Perhaps another novel or two? Perhaps some tales of adventure from my children real and fictional? Perhaps some naked mannequins glued to wings and hanging from the ceiling above a giant carousel while the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse gather dust by the dead orchestra? 

Sure, let’s do aaaaaaaaall of that. πŸ™‚

Read on, share on, and write on, my friends!

61 thoughts on “#Writing #ParentProblems: O Holey Night

  1. I had a favourite jersey (incomplete with holes) when I was a teenager that my mother would put in the bin (trash) but I’d take it back out again. Never underestimate the power of the dark matter between the holes. Merry Christmas (what’s left) and a happy new year. Enjoy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, indeed! I had one pair of jeans I kept adding slopping patches to through college and graduate school. They looked AWFUL, but they were the comfiest jeans ever. Finally threw them out when the waist tore and I couldn’t fix it.
      A blessed Christmas and New Year to you as well! xxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The one time I tried patching up jeans I ended up performing acupuncture on my fingers, and the patch lasted about a minute before it fell off. Ended up going down the discounted clothes shop route and almost treating them as disposable clothes. I’m lucky at the moment son has no idea what Primark is. He comes back from school looking like he’s been with Bear Grylls in the jungle.
    I am like you everything is now potentially catastrophic and yet before I became a parent I wouldn’t batter an eye lid at climbing or hanging from a cliff.
    Two novels would be good and don’t forget the Christmas meets the Transformers Christmas book as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes! Don’t let me forget about THAT one πŸ™‚ And disposable clothes is right. I don’t know what parent can drop 30 bucks on a pair of jeans for him/herself, let alone a child, yet lots of stores charge that. Nooooo thank you, esp when the knees bust up in a few months.

      Liked by 1 person

      • When you get snow you need that sort of thing. It’s like us and raincoats. I’m a bad parent. I still make him sleep in a Peppa Pig bed cover set every so often. It still fits and it is still in good condition. The deal is that if anybody visits then I make sure his dinosaur cover is on. When he refuses to have it anymore then I will use it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s how I was raised, too. If it still works, you use it. Doesn’t matter how old it is. Of course, this can also backfire and lead to owning at least two dozen extra towels one doesn’t need….

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Children with spirit are far more interesting than those devoid of same. Let them wear out their kit in the quest to discover, mend, break, adapt etc. I would suggest you’re doing a fine job bringing them up, Ms New Fool.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A beautiful post, Jean, chronicling a beautiful life. I sometimes think as writers and observers we savor life a bit more than the rest of the world. It’s always so evident in your writing — full of wonder at all the regular stuff. What a fine quality to have. Happy 2019! I hope you get “discovered” this year! Maybe we all will! oxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, thank you so much, my friend! Would you believe I had all this ponderousness to accompany the holes–holes in the family with my father’s absence, holes in my structure, holes in…blech. I realized if I kept looking for holes, I wouldn’t stop. Best to focus strictly on the kids and how much they’ve grown, inside and out. πŸ™‚ A blessed New Year to you, and here’s to us all getting discovered! xxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Holes in clothes? Great, love active children. What wonderful times they’re all having, and how well you’re helping them to develop rounded characters. Such an insightful parallel with creating fiction. Sounds like you’re having a wonderful festive season. High five from me, too, for the Hallelujah Chorus. What an experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My grandmother was the seamstress in our family as well. As a bunch of very short women (in fact, my grandmother is still the tallest among us), we often brought our jeans to her for tailoring, and she invariably hemmed them entirely too short. My sisters and I are traumatized to this day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • HA! I often got jeans patched, but patches just don’t cut it here. My aunt tried to patch the boys’ pants, and that only bought another two weeks of time before they shredded the patches. It’s their super-power, apparently. πŸ™‚ Have an awesome New Year–can’t wait to see your take on the films of 2019!


  7. I love this post – Classic Jean heart and humour, using family life to reflect on the Big Questions we should all be considering. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I hope that 2019 is a peaceful, happy one for you and your family:)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lovely parallel. I had two boys, so I did many years of mending, and it seemed like keeping up with the holey jeans was the hardest. Do a six-year-old’s jeans want to have holes in the knees? Was I fighting the natural order of things trying to keep them patched? I know I could never claim more than partial success in this area. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • There are now eight pairs of jeans on the floor of their room waiting to be summer cut-offs because the knees are gone. I just found a sweatshirt with a hole, and now one of the winter coats has a hole in the sleeve. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

      Thanks for reading, by the by. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful post and three happy little faces πŸ™‚ Some people love mending holes, some prefer shopping in thrift stores or yard sales. Some people have never been in a thrift store, and have no idea how to mend πŸ™‚ Is it possible for all of these people to raise happy children? Absolutely. They just have to focus their attention on the right holes πŸ™‚
    Wishing you all a happy 2019!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Pingback: Celebrating #5years #blogging, #writing, and #parenting! Taking a moment to #givethanks and be a #proudmom. | Jean Lee's World

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