I have often referred to my car as my mobile living room. We do everything in the car, eat, nap, sometimes change. My car is full of stuff for every possible event, sports gear, snacks, first aid kit, camping gear, scout stuff, gear for all sorts of weather...
My kids have grown up in that car. It showed. After eight years of steady loving use, road trips, and daily grind, it began to smell like sour milk and feet. The carpets and seats were stained. There was ground in food stuck under seats and in places that the vacuum couldn't reach. It was like a pair of comfortable old shoes. It might not have been pretty to others, but we loved it. Which is why it was so sad when it started to act funny on the way home from Illinois. We knew the end was coming, but thought we had at least another year.
I know it was just a car, but I think that it loved us. case in point, the transmission went the day before "Cash for Clunkers" was launched. My sweet Montero Sport sacrificed itself, so we could get decent financing on a Ford Escape. It wasn't quite the joyous event you'd imagine. First we had to clean all of our stuff out. It was like a time capsule of the life of a young family. I found vet bills for our dog Sierra (she died two years ago), a golden dollar with John Quincy Adams on the front, Rob's birth certificate, baby socks, hair bands etc. It is amazing how much one family can squirrel away in a car. The kids were sad about losing their car. Their eyes almost bugged out of their heads as the salesman explained that the car would be scrapped, the engine destroyed.. "and then the car gets to go live with the other SUVs on the SUV farm!" I yelled to drown out the rest of the explanation.
And then there was my reaction. I stood there in the lot like a petulant teenager and proclaimed everything too big, too different. I just wanted MY car. I really don't handle change well and between the ordeal of Lily's bite and the car, plus my new job and the kids new schools, I was very overwhelmed. Rob patiently took over and we took our new car home.
The next day I nervously loaded the kids in the car to go the doctor. We tried out the built in bluetooth. As my new car patiently asked my command I thought "Holy crap, it's Kit!" We tried out the satellite radio and discovered: RADIO DISNEY! I'm on the fence about this one. The girls love it. I also discovered a station called Coffeehouse: acoustic singer songwriters for slightly hippy dippy mothers who'd still like to believe they are cool and can change the world. I love it!
We happily cruised along listening quietly to Selena Gomez. After three blocks I was able to stop hunching over the wheel and breathe. As I pulled into the parking lots the girls cheered and Caroline pronounced "Congratulations, Mama, you have reached your first destination." I am "Dayrider, Suburban Mom" on the prowl or crawl, depends upon the traffic.