Stained car seats

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2018

By Nathan Rice

I looked in the backseat of my car as the bright sunshine illuminated every stain that had occurred over the years. “What did they do to my car?” I lamented.

Stains from small spills throughout the years combined to make what looked like an odd and ugly pattern on the seats, and the armrest still sported the irremovable marks of a little artist who didn’t notice when paper moved during his masterpiece.

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I paused as I thought about how much it would cost to thoroughly clean the seats, if the stains would even come out in a cleaning, and if there was even a point of scrubbing them out since they would most likely be splattered on again. I was a little upset as the sunshine highlighted the stains on the seats, but my irritation quickly subsided as I thought about how the stains had arrived on the seats.

My mind transported me to our annual summer trips to the beautiful campgrounds in Buckingham. The marks on the armrest made me flash back to the times they were still into drawing and just had to carry paper and supplies with them everywhere they went.

I thought about the time just last week when the two smallest ones, excited to depart, jumped from the yard onto the seat before being reminded to keep their feet on the floor. I remembered the excitement from that trip and the joy that came from the ability to reach their desired destination.

The stains were there because there were kids in the seats. I suppose I could have implemented a no food or drink policy in my car, but that isn’t always the best option. Longer trips are helped by snacks. None of the kids in the car ever purposely made a mess, and there has never been a major spill. Crumbs and stains just seem to be a part of having kids around.

I could have clean seats, but that would mean there would never be kids in those seats. It would mean the trips together would have never happened. It would erase our times together. Suddenly, the stains on the seats didn’t seem so serious. In fact, the stains represented amazing blessings.

Sometimes we get caught up with the stains and messes that inevitably come from having children around. We get frustrated when we see stained cars seats, trip over a toy or step on a rogue Lego block. Sure, those things can be frustrating, or incredibly painful in the case of a Lego block, but they also represent a great joy.

We must ensure that we do not allow things, such as the appearance of a car, to block our ability to appreciate the little ones in our lives. I looked again at the stains on my car seats, and I realized I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at