MEEKER | As with most 7-year-olds, judging my mother was one of my favorite pastimes.
I distinctly remember slogging through chores one day and thinking “When I grow up, my baseboards will NEVER be dirty and my bathroom will NEVER smell like gerbils! There will NEVER be crumbs under my couch cushions and MY mini van will smell like sunshine and lilacs, not old puke!”
I had the audacity to whine about it once, and mom said something to the effect of, “just you wait.”
Of course, whether you’re seven or 37, life always has lessons hiding around the next curve. Some of them are terrible, but thankfully, some of them are funny.
This particular life lesson was delivered as I tried to leave the office one day, keeping one kid from darting this way and another from darting that way, ‘herding cats’. As I popped open the door to my own mini van, the smell hit me full in the face. I was instantly transported to the backseat of a ‘90s Toyota Previa next to my ever-carsick brother.
For the record, no one has even puked in my car recently. I think The Smell is actually a combination of kid dirt, old French fries, and a mud-covered tennis shoe lost three years ago. But more than that, it’s a reminder that I don’t know much. It seems we’re all increasingly quick to judge nowadays, forgetting we’re nothing more than specks on a larger speck hurtling through an infinite universe full of an indeterminate amount of other specks.
So, yes. My car smells weird. My baseboards are some of the dustiest in the west. My couch contains enough food for at least three square meals and my bathroom 100% smells like gerbils (which I have discovered is actually the smell of three little boys.)
As my kids climbed into the car that day and I was left thinking, once again, that I should have just listened to my mom, my own 7-year-old daughter wrinkled her cute little nose.
“It stinks in here,” she said disgustedly.
Just wait, my darling, I thought. Just you wait.
By Caitlin Walker | email@example.com