I fantasize about owning a Mercedes convertible. A little shiny, black and fast convertible.
No. That's not my confession.
My confession is that I don't own a convertible. Nor do I come close to even living like I should own a little, fancy, shiny anything.
This morning, I had the lovely fortune of having, yes, the same dad who sniffed out my leaf blower habits (blog: I Confess), come to my house to jump my car. I had left the keys on overnight and when I tried to take the boys to school. Dead battery. Again.
When my battery wouldn't 'turn over' the dad questioned how old the battery was and I explained the car was only two years old.
The pause that hung in the air was painful and oh-so awkward. So was watching his eyes scroll over my car.
'Kids sure can take a toll on cars, huh?'
I tried to smile.
Geeezze... this guy's observant.
Yes. They do take a toll. My brand new minivan, the one I said they'd NEVER eat in, is Filthy. Dented. Smelly. Sticky and broken.
To name a few:
The back windshield wiper - ripped off (culprit unknown).
The back hatch - two enormous dents and a bent license plate (how I identify my car in a parking lot a mile away).
Back brake light - smashed to smithereens (I backed into a tree).
Center console - over-flowing with a roll of toilet paper (I have no idea why), pens, receipts, popsicle sticks, combs, pokemon cards, half-eaten sandwiches, coins (hundreds of them) and empty water bottles.
Trunk - full of rocks, sticks, shoes, baseball bats, and potting soil (bones and dead animals have even graced the space).
Windows - smeared with ice cream, crayons and bodily fluid.
Grey carpet - brown.
Ceiling - written on.
Dog hair - everywhere.
I don't even venture to the back seat. Wrappers, crumbs, apple cores and broken toys litter the place. It's an absolute hell hole.
I avoid removing car seats. Or turning them upside down.
I cringe when the kids exit the car at school in the morning and papers, bottles and socks spill out behind them.
I absolutely DIE when someone wants a quick ride in the front seat and I have to clear a place for them to sit amongst the seat full of God-knows-what and trash on the floor.
Ironically, one of the things that sold me on this car were the secret floor compartments in the back. A brilliant idea for all the wet and muddy clothes and shoes I thought.
I've never used them once.
So after my battery was charged and I took the kids to school (a half hour late), I headed for the car wash. You know, the one where 26 teenagers swarm your vehicle and in 1o minutes it's sparkling again. I would LOVE this place except that every time I go there the manager has a complete conniption at all the dirt and dog hair and scolds me that the next time it will cost 'extra.'
I pulled in line hoping Hitler was off duty today and got all the way to the wash bay when he appeared from no where, yelled at the teenager who 'let me through' and said I'd have to go to the self-serve bay first to spray off all the caked on dirt in the wheel-wells.
In my defense we had been in the mountains all weekend and my minivan was a bit weathered from the trip, but the humiliation from the day was almost more than I could bear.
I survived and my car is sparkling clean.
But I'm off to pick up the boys and take an evening hike. Sierra (my dog) and the boys love the stream where we go.
Which will mean mud. And dog hair. In my car.
But I wouldn't change a thing.
Someday I will have the shiny new convertible..
But for now I'll take the mess...
And the memories.
You have kids. Things are going to get broken... and dirty. Get over it. When you freak out it teaches your kids that things are most important.
It's great to have dreams and desires... it's also great to accept that there's a time and place for everything. As a parent, skydiving or traveling the world may not be in the cards. But I promise, soon enough you'll have all the time in the world... and all you'll want is to go back in time.
A perfect house, a perfect car and perfect children are all a facade. Period.
Don't let your car get so dirty they yell at you at the car wash. Break out a hose and the vacuum on occasion and invite your kids to partake in some good old fashion water fights.