Every Monday morning, and the occasional Tuesday after a long weekend, my little white Prius looks like something’s blown up inside it. Not a bomb, mind you, but the dirt and mess that comes from little boys playing hard. This Tuesday, powdery sand from the shores of Dauphin Island, Ala. covers my floor mats. There’s a pair of neon yellow and black flip-flops, size small, and an array of beach towels in hues ranging from deep azure to cherry red.
If you look closely, there’s probably a Lego figure or two in the back seat, along with a water bottle, and a half-read paperback copy of The Maze Runner prequel. There’s an insulated, striped orange bag to hold picnic food, three set of sunglasses, and a faded hat from many summers spent in the Alabama sun. There might be a few old movie stubs in the center console. There are definitely Band-aids (I don’t leave home without them!). There are more miles registered on the dashboard than I care to count, a stray pebble has likely nicked the paint (again), and my gas tank is likely dangerously low.
When I clean it all up later today and wash my car, and my vehicle will go back to looking like a presentable mommy/author-mode of transportation. But in the moments before I wipe down the seats and tote away the beach gear, I breathe in the scent of ocean air and my son’s sun-soaked skin. I can almost hear music on the radio and laughter from the back seat. When I close my eyes, I can see waves and seagulls and broad smiles.
It’s why, every Monday, or Tuesday, the dirt and sand don’t bother me at all.
It’s evidence of love, happiness, and a life well-lived.