Confessions of a Car Hoarder- 04-17-15

I am sharing with you now a great weakness and constant source of shame in my life. This is my car on a Thursday. Oh, full disclosure, this is the clean car my husband left on Monday. Never mind my actual SUV, the one I destroy drive most weeks when he’s not away on business.

car hoarder

My husband calls me a “car hoarder.” At the end of a week, my SUV feels like a vehicular landfill. It’s like a dirty old purse on wheels. Crumbs, crumpled receipts, granola bar wrappers, Hot Wheels, jackets, muddy socks, nearly dried lip gloss tubes and empty wipes packages litter this rolling shrine to my perpetual mediocrity.

I will say, it is SLIGHTLY better now that I don’t have a breast pump in there all the time. Occasionally it’s become a point of contention in our marriage. My mom has even said she doesn’t like to ride with me. I see the looks on the faces of the preschool teachers when we go through carpool. They help my child out of her Goldfish encrusted car seat and watch her stumble over toys that have become buried on the floor for at least two weeks. That’s next to the half-filled water bottle graveyard. Sometimes I squeak out a meek “Excuse our mess!” I cringe whenever someone helps me load something in my car.

That’s when they see my shame. They see my nastiest, sloppy habit. Our house is nice. It’s not pristine by any means. A 4-year-old and 1-year-old live here, but it’s not terrible. But my car…it has always been a problem. In college I drove an old 1992 Toyota Camry. My sister always said I “smelled like my car.”

I see moms with their immaculate minivans and sparkling SUV’s. How do they do it? I do clean it out, sometimes. At least every other week I have to overhaul and take everything out. I have reflected on this flaw and have figured out why my car becomes an auto wasteland every week.

  • We are always in the car- We are out the door every morning. I like to consider myself an “In The Car Mom” instead of a “Stay At Home Mom.” Oh! Look out Twitter! I’m gonna start #ITCM. Oh, that’s already been taken by a seemingly fine international educational institution. Never mind.
  • We eat in the car- I only let the 1-year-old eat the applesauce pouches in the car for fear of choking, but the 4-year-old can down an Egg McMuffin or some Chick-Fil-A Icedream in the good ol’ Peg Perego Convertible seat any time. I half-heartedly scold her for tossing the spoon on the floorboard when she’s done. What can I say to her? I know it lands on car mat where empty Starbucks cups go to die. She knows it too.
  • I let my kids take toys in the car- I try to hurry them out the door and I hear, “Wait! I gotta get my My Little Pony-Sofia The First-book-ball-figurines-or-whatever! Please! I just want to play with them in the car!”
  • I don’t take everything out everyday- When we pull in the garage in the afternoon after preschool, a workout, errands, lunch, pickup and a play date, my kids are wiped. I drag them in, often hungry and tired. I grab my keys, my phone, the baby and the kid. I leave the rest. We tumble into the house only to find a dog ready to be let out before they run to the pantry for a snack. Unless there are groceries in the car, I rarely go back out there.

I guess I’m writing this to hold myself accountable. This is my confession that will hopefully spur me to clean up my automobile act. I’m getting my stuff out of the car each night. Starting tomorrow.

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Explaining Gay Marriage To A 4-Year-Old April 14, 2015

This weekend my step-brother had the honor of being a “Bridesman” and standing alongside two of his best friends as they got married. This wedding had two beautiful brides.

I was going through the pictures posted on Facebook. My 4-year-old curled up next to me and asked what I was looking at. I replied, “Uncle Bryce was in a wedding this weekend. His friends got married.” I looked at her curious face as she giggled at a shot of her uncle on the dance floor with his shoes off, clearly at the end of the night.

I wasn’t sure she had ever seen a same-sex couple before. I clicked to the next picture of the wedding party. She looked for her uncle.

Would she ask me about it? Of course she would.

The next picture was a lovely shot of the happy couple. I said, “There they are. They look so happy!” She looked a little confused. She said, “They got married? Two girls can’t get married!” I said, “Yes they can! If they love each other they can. If two men love each other they can get married too.” She said, “But you’re a girl and daddy is a boy and you’re married, right?” “Right, I married Daddy because that’s who I love,” I replied. She looked at my wedding ring. “They have rings too?” I assured her they did.

She looked back at the screen and said, “Oh, okay. Mommy! I love the flowers in her hair! Can I have flowers like that?”

Boom. Same-sex marriage explained and accepted.

k k wedding

Congratulations Kimber and Kaylee. Blessings to your marriage.

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Explaining Tragedy- April 9, 2015

Explaining tragedy

When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986 I was about 4 1/2 years old. I was a preschooler in Cary, NC preparing for kindergarten. I don’t remember much of it. I know the story well, as it has been retold to us through videos in science and history classes through the years. That image of the sudden white cloud over Cape Canaveral is haunting and awful. I hate watching it like I hate watching video of the planes go into the World Trade Center towers in 2001. I get that knot in my gut. I have to look away.

What I remember very vividly is the sadness, even as a little kid. I remember standing under my mom as she watched the funeral for the astronauts on TV and crying. I asked her why she was crying and asked what had happened that would make her so sad. She explained how 7 astronauts died when something went terribly wrong. It was an accident.

That’s when I learned that bad things happen sometimes.

Tuesday evening after dinner my 4-year-old daughter was playing with her little brother in the living room. The top of the CBS Evening News came on. Scott Pelly announced with all his white-haired seriousness that they would lead the newscast with breaking news out of N. Charleston, SC. That’s when I saw that awful video that we’ve all seen now. A police officer, Michael Slager, shot and killed Walter Scott as he was running away. I got that gut knot. I gasped. But quietly, so as not to startle my children or draw their attention to such graphic video. They were busy playing and not watching. This incident in South Carolina was not an accident.

Just a couple of weeks earlier my husband was watching coverage of the Germanwings plane crash. Video showed crews combing the French mountainside for remains. This was also not an accident. My daughter looked at the screen and asked, “Daddy, what happened to that airplane?” He said “Nothing sweetie,” and diverted her attention. Later he told me, “We need to be careful about what we have on TV around the kids. She doesn’t need to know that planes crash.”

This gave me pause. I don’t disagree with my husband, but it’s a difficult issue to address. When I was that age I learned the brutal reality that space shuttles explode, why shouldn’t she learn that planes crash?

There are differences. In 1986, my parents knew the odds of me ever going on a space shuttle were pretty much nil. Those odds remain to this day. My child has already been on an airplane multiple times. She will probably travel by plane many more times in her life.

The biggest difference is that someone purposely crashed that plane. We couldn’t excuse or explain this tragedy through the veil of an accident. There is no way anyone, especially a child, watching that cell phone camera footage of Walter Scott dying could say “Well, it was an accident. Bad things happen sometimes.”

Then I started thinking about children the same age as mine who are dealing with the realization that not only do bad things happen, but PEOPLE  do bad things too. I thought of the young black children participating in protests in Ferguson, MO with t-shirts reading “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” and carrying signs with #BlackLivesMatter. For these kids, the deaths of Michael Brown and Walter Scott are clear examples of people hurting someone the same race as them and sending their communities into turmoil.

What do those parents tell their children about these tragedies? How do I, as a white parent raising white children, address this issue? When does any parent of any race explain that a supposedly mentally ill person killed dozens of people by crashing an airplane?

I’m not saying I’m going to sit my kid down for Anderson Cooper 360 and make her watch CNN’s coverage of the N. Charleston shooting, but I’m going to be honest when she asks me about the tragedies shown by the news and mass media. I will be selective and cautious with my words, no doubt. But, I don’t think I can wait for the “perfect tragedy” to explain that bad things happen or that bad people exist. I fear that will become very real very fast for this generation.

 

 

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Plastic Grass- April 6, 2015

I thought that I had Easter basket grass already. I was quite certain I had seen bags of some pastel shade or another piled in the cluster that is the third floor of our house. I bought extra last year, not realizing you really only need one bag per basket. I got the paper kind last year, not the slightly translucent green plastic we had as kids.

You know the stuff. We found pieces of plastic grass wound up in our dog’s poop when she ate candy from our baskets. I was about 9. I was pissed. Why couldn’t the dog have eaten my sister’s jelly beans instead of my chocolate egg?

Well, I couldn’t find any of the paper kind left during my third Target run this week. I settled for the classic plastic, but in different colors for my kiddos. My one-year-old son made sure that I knew just how far the stuff goes.

This was after church on Sunday:

photo 1 (42)

This was Easter Monday morning when I ran upstairs for two effing minutes to put my contacts on:

photo 2 (43)

I don’t think the dog has eaten any, but I saw some hanging out of the top of Henry’s diaper after he rolled around the floor in it.

I took the mess in stride this Easter. I think it’s because I was happier and more grateful than I’ve ever been. I look at these pictures and realize that THIS is my life. How is this possible?! These people are mine and I feel like the most blessed woman on earth, even with plastic grass tangled in my toes.

6 Easter 2015

5 Easter 2015

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Dinosaurs- April 1, 2015

Charlotte headphones

My daughter’s cleverness never fails to amaze and amuse me. I want to write down the things she says so I will remember them. I forget so quickly. Here we go.

In the car today:

Charlotte: “Mommy, how did we get here on earth?”

Me: “You mean, humans?”

Charlotte: “Yeah.”

Me: “Well, God created us a long time ago after billions of years of the earth forming.” (I was trying to come up with some hybrid of Big Bang/Evolution/Creationism that wouldn’t be saying “I don’t know.” but, also wouldn’t be lying. Don’t judge me. Parenting is hard.)

Charlotte: “Like, we were here with the animals?”

Me: “Well, the dinosaurs were here first, but then they all went away.”

Charlotte: (Pointing at an askew road sign.) “So, is that why the sign is all tippy?”

Cue the Emoji laughing with tears. Any sign I saw the rest of the day, I imagined a dinosaur knocking it over. Isn’t that much more amazing than the likely story?

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