This week, I had to say goodbye to my van. I wasn’t prepared for how much it would hurt. I mean, it’s just a car, right?
But, it’s so much more than that, isn’t it? It was the one constant my girls and I have had for the last 6 years. It’s been a rock of reliability in our chaotic life.
It’s the car I drove, while in labor, to the hospital to have Emory.
It’s the car that brought her home.
When I finally had to admit that I couldn’t attend school, work, and raise three girls on my own, I packed it to the brim and drove North on 95 to our new life. We brought only what we could fit in the trunk and between the three car seats. We lost everything and started over with nothing, but we were fine.
It’s the car I drove to the doctor’s appointment when the twins were diagnosed with Autism.
It took us to countless appointments, evaluations, and therapies afterwards. For six years. We did it, though. They’re pretty much done with therapies.
It was also the car we drove to many different states when we started this gig as travel bloggers. It has taken us all up and down the coast and we’ve seen some pretty amazing things. The gorgeous mountains of Tennessee, the humidity of South Florida, the white picket fences of Lexington, the big Mouse at Disney, numerous amusement parks, and several month long road trips. It has driven us through so many memories and every one of those memories starts with packing up that van.
We packed it full of kids and went places with friends. There was lots of fighting, but also a lot of love. Lifelong relationships were forged in it’s safety.
Recently, it took me to South Carolina to pick up my husband four days before we married. That man is the best decision I ever made.
It took us to our humble little courthouse wedding and drove us home afterwards.
Three months later, it drove us to the appointment where we found out we lost our honeymoon baby. It then took five crying people home. That was rough.
And then out of the blue, it was gone. Not because it stopped or because I did something wrong, but because PennDOT has seemingly given up on salting and plowing the roads.
It represents the worst times of my life, but the best, too. It represents the strength I found deep inside myself when I thought there was none left. That van is a beast and never stopped. In a way, I knew that I was going to be able to keep running because it kept running.
It took me from single mom to happily married. I wanted to bring more babies home in the same van that brought Emory home. I wanted to bring it into the new part of my life~ the happy part where it’s not all such a struggle. I wanted to keep going until it was time to stop.
I wasn’t ready to give up the representation of that strong woman that I have become. I wanted to stop driving it only when I switched over to a 12 passenger van. I would have kept it, though! To drive when I got a spare moment alone, so I could remember all I’ve been through and the things we did together in it. My three girls and I created a strong, happy, healthy family in that van.
But, this week I had to say goodbye. And I cried.