Last night we bought a new car. Our poor old Odyssey has been getting less and less reliable. The first time it stranded us was 2 Christmases ago on our way to Las Vegas. At night. In the pouring rain. Very nearly in the middle of nowhere. That adventure could be an entire blog post in itself so I won’t go into all the details. But suffice it to say that from that moment on we began to have a little less faith in the old car.
The following July it stranded us again. Daylight, this time. But still kind of in the middle of nowhere. More major hassles. By this point we all knew that the van’s days with us were numbered.
We got home from that trip and I immediately looked up new cars. There was never really much doubt about what our replacement car would be. With 5 of us something small like a Prius just won’t work for long trips. And we still do quite a few long trips. Plus occasional field trip driving, or hauling of large items. So we definitely wanted another minivan. And we’d loved the old Odyssey, so a new one seemed a natural choice. We did look at the Toyota Sienna, just to compare. Our opinion of the Sienna was probably colored by our extremely negative experience with the dealership. Even so, we just plain liked the Odyssey better. But nothing in this family happens fast. We tend to procrastinate and drag our feet. It seemed like we’d never get a new car. When people asked me about the new car search my standard reply was “Hell hasn’t frozen over yet” Even when we went out last night, I pretty much assumed that we’d just talk numbers etc. with the salesman and walk away. Except we didn’t. I guess Hell actually froze over finally! The car wasn’t ready yet – it’s so brand new off the truck that they have to finish unwrapping it! So DH will pick it up tonight. Sadly, due to scheduling conflicts, I won’t be with him. But that might be best. Because every time I think about never seeing my dear old minivan again I get choked up.
Those of you who have visited my blog before may remember how I feel about change. I hate it. Always have, and as I approach the scary sounding age of 50, I suspect I always will. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted things to stay the same. Car. House. Friends. Family. Pets. Christmas Traditions. Everything!! I do think I’ve gotten a little more relaxed about changes, but I still prefer the same old things in the same places, or doing the same things the same way. But life doesn’t work like that. Life, in fact, IS change. Big ones, like losing my grandparents. Smaller ones, like painting a room.
So here I am with a change that seems positive. Really cool brand new car in place of the beat up old unreliable one. No negatives there, right? Except that I love my old van. It’s been pretty much my personal car, and I’ve spent hours in it. Driving to and from school. Running errands. Having arguments with the kids. Llistening to my daughter nearly shatter the windows with her shrieking during tantrums when she was little. Joking around with all 3 kids on our way places. Singing along with Alice Cooper. Listening to puppies wailing. All of us so enthralled with the last Harry Potter on CD that the 10 hour trip from Las Vegas seemed short. So many memories, so much of my life lived in that old van. And things like cars are never just inanimate objects to me. They somehow become my friends. I’ve talked to that old van, shed tears of frustration, sadness, anger, laughter in it. My kids have grown up in it – E was 3 when we bought it, now he’s almost 17! It’s T and G’s first car with us. E lost his first tooth in that van (another blog post I should write someday) You get the idea – that minivan has been at the center of a lot of my life in the 13.5 years that we’ve owned it. And it makes me sad to let it go. I worry about where it will go now, what will happen to it. Will another family buy it? Love it? Take care of it? Not that we took such great care of it ourselves, but I don’t want someone to just trash the heck out of it. But I have no say in what comes next for it.
My old friend is gone now. DH drove it to work this morning since he’s going to be taking it in tonight. So yesterday when I drove it, it was the last time. I didn’t even know, as I pulled in the driveway and stepped out, that I’d never drive it again. I thought I might have it for a while this morning before we went to pick up the new one – a last chance to run errands in it, fetch the kids from school in it, say goodbye to it. But maybe this is better. Just thinking about it has been bringing tears to my eyes – writing about it has me crying. Walking away and handing over the keys for the last time would probably be too much – I’d just embarrass myself in front of the salesman, and I wouldn’t want to do that. So I guess this is how I’ll say goodbye.
So long, old friend. Thanks for being my faithful companion for so many years. Whatever your future brings, know you’ll take a little part of us with you.