The New Car Smell

Chad and I just bought a new car. It was time, really. The car Chad was driving to work each day was driven on a wing and a prayer with a little help from some fuel. Thankfully, he works less than a mile from our home so if when it broke down, he was within walking distance of one place or the other. (Let’s ignore the fact that I work AT home.) On occasions when he was going one direction and I was going another, we mapped out the distance and calculated who could get help sooner, based on the location where we were traveling, while also considering who had the most kids in tow.

(Okay, if I’m being honest, he took the “bad” car most of the time while I typically got the “good” car. I think he was calculating the whining that would ensue if I got stranded, even if he ended up stranded somewhere with three kids. Hands down, waiting for AAA with three kids on a cold winter evening was a cake-walk compared to listening to my whining.)

Anyway, just last night Chad and I signed all the papers and were handed the keys to our new safe vehicle. (Responsible parents we are, I know.) Chad climbed into the driver’s seat while I climbed in next to him, and our 20-something-fresh-faced-wide-eyed-happy-eager car salesman climbed into the backseat behind us. As we each slammed our doors closed, I breathed in the wonderful intoxicating smell of our new car. Behind us, Salesman Dan spoke up. . .

Do you have any questions for me?
I tend not to be shy in these situations and find comfort in sarcasm, yeah, how do we keep this new car smell?
Dan, not quite familiar with my sarcastic ways answered seriously, you know, I know some people who put blankets over their seats and cover the floor so that they can keep the new car smell.

In my mind’s eye I could see Meadow coloring and broken crayons being dropped to the floor. I could see kids climbing into the back with dirt-covered soccer cleats. I could see a melting ice cream cone in a little hand while the owner of the hand told stories with full animation while flecks of melted ice cream dripped onto the floor.

Chad and I looked at each other and laughed as I responded to Salesman Dan, Yeah, well, in two days we are going to load two dogs and three kids into the car and drive across the state.
Chad also chimed in noting, one dog will likely vomit several times before we get to our destination.

In true happy-Salesman fashion, Dan hid any indication of being appalled by our situation and made a simple suggestion, well, maybe you could go for a long drive tonight.

Chad and I laughed and agreed, yep, we will enjoy it while it lasts.

You see, I am very aware that there will be a day when our car is spotless. A day when we drive from point A to point B without the need for in-car recreation or a four-course meal on the road. A day will come when vacuuming the car won’t feel as pointless as laundry or sweeping the floor under the kids chairs often feel to me.  A day will come when the back of our car no longer holds car seats or abandoned shoes and sweatshirts. A day will come when crumbs don’t pepper the backseat and some afternoons are spent searching for the source of that stench seemingly flowing through the car’s atmosphere.

(The stench is always a leaky water bottle. Every time.)

That day will come. Today is not that day.


I am very aware of changing seasons. Just as summer moves to fall which moves to winter. So transitions our life seasons. In the cold of the winter I could wish for the heat of the summer, but then I would miss the way the frost settles on the grass or the way snowflakes dance through the air. In the fall I could wish for the flowers of summer, but then I’d miss the vibrancy of the autumn leaves that fall to the ground.

Today, I could wish for the new car smell and a crumbless car, but then I would miss the joy of excited little voices and the absolutely full life that comes with them.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Friends.

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