After a local community meeting, a fellow member asked if I could give her a ride home. As we walked to the car, we spoke mama stats: she had two boys, five and eight years old. I belong to the boy club as well, ages two and four.
I always feel a bond with other mothers of boys. I asked how the five and eight-year-old stage is. The prognosis was good. I like it when people with kids older than mine say it gets better. I dislike those people that tell you it's still hard, just different. I don't mind if you lie to me, just tell me it gets better and easier, please!
As we get to my car, she says, "Cute!" as I have a butterfly pasted on the butt of the car. But as I look in the passenger seat, I realize there is a few days' worth accumulation of definitely not cute stuff. I know she's a mom, so I remind myself not to worry too much, but I tell her it's going to take a while to clear the seat so she can actually sit on it, hopefully finding a place for her feet as well.
I take off the first layer - everything we needed for a dinner at our favorite Thai food restaurant that night. A cooler-type bag of supplemental dinner options for the kids, two jackets of mine, one for each of the kids. I throw them into the back. The next layer was from my art class the day prior -- paper bags laid out to protect the seats from wet paint and a box of art supplies. They find their spot, sitting in the empty car seats in the back.
I'm finally down to the final layer. This was from three days prior when I got to my son's preschool in the morning and realized it was freezing cold and wet, and my son was in a short-sleeved shirt. This fact should have been noticed before we left the house, but somehow escaped my mommy radar until that moment. So I emptied the diaper bag, which had been recently organized, and pulled out all the extra clothes until I found a long-sleeved shirt for him to wear, pulling it over his head and finished dressing him in the parking lot.
As I tossed back the tighty whities (thankfully clean, these were from the spare clothes) of my four-year-old, along with unused diapers, jeans, shirts, and socks, she said honestly, "I guess you don't drive with other people very often."
I laughed. "Only my kids."