Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bittersweet


(The car that has served us well for the last 12+ years!)

Back on Valentine's Day in 2001, I went upstairs to our home office to talk to Mike. One of our friends was sitting there, and amidst small talk he asked me what I got from Mike for Valentine's Day. I responded, with slight irritation in my voice, "a glazed donut."

Within a few minutes the phone rang, and my friend, (the wife of the friend I had just been talking to) who had just given birth to a baby, asking me if I could please quickly go to the store for her. It was all a set up, because when I opened the garage door to get in the car, there sitting in my garage was my Valentine's Day present.

A brand new suburban.

It was quite the pleasant surprise. My dream car had always been a black suburban. (We even test drove suburbans on our honeymoon. I know. I know...) A dark grey one was pretty darn close, and I was thrilled with it. (It took a few years to be quite so thrilled with the "free pass" Mike gave himself for the rest of our Valentine's Day due to such an expensive one early on.)

On that Valentine's Day, Mike declared we would still be driving it until Megan started junior high. Megan was not quite 2 1/2 at the time, and Luke was just weeks away from being thought of. It seemed forever away.

Even as Megan began junior high a couple of years ago, the thought of replacing the suburban never crossed our mind. Sure, with five kids it was taking a horrible beating inside, and we've had to do the occasional repair, but even with a few aging issues, we kept forging onward.

Until a couple of weeks ago when our mechanic told us the repair it needed may not be worth it. Over the past few years, if I'd have thought of that possibility I'm quite sure I would have imagined myself excited at the need to replace my 2001 Valentine's Day gift. But suddenly, the necessity of buying a new car wasn't quite as thrilling and exciting as I would have guessed.

Over the weekend, we replaced our beloved grey suburban. And even though the one now sitting in my garage is much newer and nicer than our old one, at this point, my heart is still with the one out on my driveway ready to be deserted to a life of solitude.

My heart with a car? I would never have imagined such a sentiment! But as I drove the old suburban on Sunday afternoon with one foot having to rev the engine to keep up the RPM's, while the other foot rests on the brake at a stoplight to keep oil pumping to the engine, I realized the reason I love the car so much.

It's the memories.

With a pen and our family record book in hand, Mike, the children and I began listing some of our favorite memories.

~ Luke peeing in the cup holder while I ran into the pizza store when he was 3 years old.
~ The time Mike, Megan and I slept in it at Strawberry Resevoir while the wind howled outside. Too windy to boat, or put up a tent. We hung out in the suburban watching The Sound of Music.
~ Luke, Ellie, Joshua and Drew came home from the hospital in it.
~ Travelling to Orem to visit Cousin Lucy for the first time and Joshua needing to pee. Luke was instructed to hold an empty bottle for him to go in, while Mike flew down the freeway at 65+mph. Only trouble was, Joshua missed the bottle and we had an Old Faithful resembling geyser going off in the back seat.
~ The 100,000 mile celebration we had somewhere on a desolated highway traveling through Arizona.
~ Megan spilling a red sno-cone in it when the car was only a few months old.

Those are just a few memories from our ever-growing list.

Believe me, I know it is a little strange to be getting so sentimental over a vehicle. But it has served our family well for more than 12 years now. We will very likely have our new car for at least 12 years too. But the next 12 won't be the same. In 12 years, we won't still have 5 children filling it day in and day out. Joshua and Drew will likely be the lone children left at home.

I know we'll make plenty of memories in this new car in the next 12 years. But I don't for one minute think the memories in it will be quite the same as the lonely suburban sitting on my driveway awaiting its final resting place.

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