As I was driving home from school last week, two of my children were in the backseat having their daily arguements. As I turned around to say “stop that fighting with one another”, I glanced down at the floor and it suddenly hit me!
I was riding dirty! Like full on DIRTAY! As in french fries from McDonald’s Smushed and dried up, which now looked like raw mini pancakes! M&ms had been stomped upon, which caused the chocolate to smear, then eventually melted and stuck to the carpet. A cute drawing from art class had obviously been taken out of a backpack, only to be stepped on by little shoes and eventually crumbled up. Little small hair bows of the baby’s I had been desperately looking for to make her look descent for the day were spread from one side of the car to the other. And to my surprise an earring of mine! Laying right there under Giselles rainbow colored sneakers. One I have been missing for quite some time (I knew one of these spoiled girls had taken it) I thought to myself angrily.
I went on to tell the girls “quit all this fighting!” After all it was only 3:15. We had a long night ahead of us, which included two sets of homework and a fussy baby. I didn’t need this stress right now (is it too early for wine? I thought) feeling guilty as to even thinking this was ok! (What type of mother am?) I wondered.
I continue driving over the laughing, booger picking, and occasional shouting. A red light causes me to stop. I look back again, but this time I find Jovani eating a chocolate bar, right beside him, lying on the floor, is his candy wrapper. I stare at him with frustration. But he pays no mind to me. He is way too interested in the movie he is watching. As he adjusts his headphones on his little curly, blonde hair. (How can he even hear right?) I say to myself. The padding from one side had been taken off by him months ago.
The rest of the drive home I tell myself (ok tomorrow is the day! I can’t put it off. I am definitely getting a car wash. I will not let myself take one more car ride driving in such filth. I will go first thing in the morning).
The followng day I rushingly drop off the big kids, eager to wash my once sparkly, spotless, white car. And after I did, it felt great! Mission accomplished! Everything was so fresh again. I almost convinced myself it was brand new. Ready to tackle the day I thought (I can’t wait to see the teachers face at pick up). “She must have cleaned her car”. She’d say to herself.
Fast forward a week later. Today is Monday. As I sit here writing this post, I am in the same position as I once was last week. (Should I go today? Will I go at all this week? Can ants get into a car? Are they already there? Yikes! No no, I will put my foot down today! I will shout and tell them “no more food in this car, understand?!” And they will listen. Right? They have no choice).
Realistically though, this is my life. And my car is several years away from being spotless. The fresh clean smell will not last. No more than just a few days. The m&ms will turn up again. The bag of chips will soon arrive. And I will have to vaccume the crumbs spread out all throughout the back seat floor.
I have two choices. I can sit and let it ruin my day. I can aggressively shout at them and convince myself they will not eat again in our car. Or I can tell myself, they are children and this is all apart of it.
One day, several years from now, I will have the squeaky clean car, I will have no more than a bottled water, sunglasses, a purse and a few other small items that lay so neatly inside my car. I will glance back during a red light, I will hear silence. I will not see smiling, booger picking, shouting over each other faces that were once there. No folks, my car will be empty. And in that moment, a tear will fall from the side of my eye, it will roll down my cheeks and I will gently wipe it away. And I will say to myself ( I wish I was still riding dirty).