Not all messes in life are created equal
“Sorry for the mess,” my friend’s husband said as he opened the door to the pickup he was letting me borrow during the week I was waiting for my new baby to be born in the big town.
I took a look around to find an orange hunting vest lying on the back seat and (GASP!) a stray penny on the floor. And that was it.
Clearly, we have opposite ideas of what a mess is, I thought as I wheeled around town in that spotless pickup like a fancy pregnant pageant queen, careful not to spill any crumbs from my occasional muffin pit stop on the seats and making sure to bring my water and juice cups inside when I parked it.
I’m pretty sure you could make a dozen new muffins from all the crumbs that are residing on the floor of my vehicle these days. And don’t get me started on the extra cups. And I know I’ve explained my car situation here before, how living 30 miles from any civilization means that a girl accumulates things, just in case – like extra socks, a stash of snacks in every available crevasse, lawn chairs, spare gloves, napkins upon napkins, a 2012 issue of Glamour magazine, a talking Elmo doll and a partridge in a pear tree. But if I thought I had an issue before I gave birth to two small children, well, I had no idea what was coming.
Like two, 75-pound car seats that come with said children.
Do you know what also comes with children? Stuff. So. Much. Stuff. Like all the extra things I thought I needed for those miles when it was only me? Multiply that by three and then add a giant stroller, a Pack ‘n Play, a couple stacks of kids books, a stash of fruit snacks, burp rags, baby dolls and at least one dirty diaper changed along the side of the road. Oh, and Edie’s lifejacket just in case.
By the time I get the car loaded and both girls out the door and buckled safely into their seats, I’m sweating like I’ve just come in last place in a Texas marathon.
Last week we finally did get around to going to that indoor swimming pool. I slowly made the trek from the parking lot to the door with a diaper bag backpack on my back, a swim bag overstuffed with suits, clothes and towels dangling off the stroller with a car seat and the baby inside, stopping only to pull my toddler in her puffy coat out of the snow bank where she decided to lay down for a halfway break. If it wasn’t so cold, I might have joined her and if you were flying over Watford City that day, I’m pretty sure you could see us giving up on it all from your window seat.
Three days later, when I went searching for that swimming bag, I found it, of course, in my car, stuffed full of very frozen swimsuits, towels and an ice cube of a life jacket.
And that, my friend, is the sort of mess worth apologizing for.
Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughter on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com. Readers can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.