Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Old Trash Van

Not even a remote resemblance to the inside of my van right now.
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash
 Afternoon Readers,

I was thinking about it this week, and I couldn't help patting myself on the back for all the progress I've made as a mom. Eight years ago, being completely clueless about rearing tiny humans ruled the day, and if I made it twenty-fours without crying, I'd reward myself with a donut.

These days, school schedules, meals, bath times, and getting everyone dressed aren't nearly as overwhelming. So, occasionally, I get really full of myself and acknowledge that, "I'm pretty much great at this whole thing."

And then I open my van.

I'm not sure if any of you've seen Mad Max: Fury Road, but the inside of my kid-hauler is fairly close to Tom Hardy's experience of wandering through a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Tumbleweeds, dust, things inexplicably glued to others, symbolizing some sort of tribal decoration.

For whatever reason, I'm now on years of trying to tame the family transportation vehicle into something that looks less like a tornado picked it up and shook it like a bottle of cheap sprinkles, and more like what those families on car commercials ride around in.

A seat belt you don't have to thrust your arm down into cushion depths, looking for, while you yell, "This time, someone's just gonna have to hold onto the floorboard."

I envy parents who can keep their vans and cars clean. As for my situation, it seems the Kellermans have a fairly high trash production, compounded by the fact none of them listen to me.

If the stars align and I meet a new friend, I feel compelled to introduce them to my van, as well. It's a package deal. And if we're to become bosom friends, besties, or acquaintances who avoid each other at the grocery store but awkwardly pretend they're not, she needs to meet my trash wagon.

I start at the front and work my way to the back, motioning to items of interest as I go.

"It's nice to meet you, Susan. This is my van. Van, meet Susan. If you'd be so kind, please take note of the two coffee mugs I keep up front. One is full of cold coffee, and the other is full of colder, older coffee. I wouldn't drink either."

"Don't reach into the compartment between the arm rests. There's a nest of receipts and yogurt wrappers I'm only fifty-percent sure a mouse hasn't bought real estate in."

"That trash pile you see on the passenger's side is mail I grab before I pick the kids up from school every day. I let it build up, until it feels like someone's sitting next to me. I'm very lonely."

"The glove box is where I keep my abandoned dreams and my aviators. Sometimes, Skittles."

"Directly behind you are two car seats. Their cubbies are filled with wrappers, but the fun part is that there's bonus trash underneath both seats. This comes in handy, when the children need things to throw at each other and can't get the stickers off the windows."

*Motions to vast collection of stickers on windows. Half of a Shopkin glares back,*

"As we continue our tour, please note another row of booster seats in the back. I haven't fit back there since 2009. The children haven't complained about any uncomfortable riding situations, but I lost them under two trash piles last month, so we'll check in with them when they dig themselves out."

If a potential friend is still feigning interest in me or my life, I like to finish up our visual adventure with a quick inventory of the trunk.

"This is where I wish I could go, when I need to cry. Kidding! I do that in front seat like a normal person."

"Know that song, "The Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly"? The trunks like that. This is the trunk that swallowed the blankets, that swallowed the stroller, that swallowed the donation clothes, that swallowed the ice scraper, that sits on top of the emergency kit, that's covered in old banana one of the kids threw out."

I finish the tour by driving away from the person who's now a little afraid of me and my van. She doesn't call. But that's ok.

I have the trash in the passenger seat to keep me company.

Until Next Time, Readers!

And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on: