Yesterday I bought an SUV.
Other than the exterior color, it’s really amazing. It’s fully loaded and pretty lux. But the truth is that while I am happy about the new car, and new car smell and all of that, I kinda hate my new car.
Or rather, I hate what it represents, which is another piece of pre-Hope identity kicked to the wayside.
In recent months I’ve really embraced motherhood and really tried to meet Hope where she is. We both have benefited from this effort.
But there’s something about this car purchase that sits on me like a giant thud.
Yesterday morning I was the owner (free and clear by the way) of an adorable little red Mini Cooper that I called, the Chili Pepper. “Chili” was my dream car. I’d wanted a Mini for years, but really never thought I’d get one. I’d had a sports car right out of college and then I had a cute sporty wagon. So when I started my doctoral program, I took the plunge and headed to the Mini dealership, where I fell in love with Chili.
I loved that car. Me and Chili had seen a good chunk of the east coast. Like all of my previous cars she was a stick shift. and I loved the handling and the power this little car channeled. She was distinctive with her little personalized plates. People would walk by Chili and smile. People would ride in Chili and marvel at just how awesome she was. When Hope moved here, my ownership of Chili was definitely an indicator of my potential “coolness.” She was different. Did I mention that I loved her?
I owned Chili for 5 years, almost to the day. Her warranties were just about up and repairs and upkeep can be pricey on Minis. She’d just endured a repair that would’ve been about $6K but for the fact that it was covered under the warranty.
Then there was Hope’s instrument; she plays a tenor sax. The dang thing took up the whole boot trunk. If I ever offered another band kid a ride they couldn’t be from the low brass or percussion sections, that’s for sure. And Hope plans to take guitar lessons this year so there’s really a need for more room.
Finally, there’s the trip to Boston and Martha’s Vineyard of 2015. I had to get a roof bag to accommodate all of the luggage. We stayed at the sexy Boston W hotel for a few days, and when we drove up, we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies traveling in a clown car. It worked, but it was clear that it wasn’t optimal and that something was going to have to change. I was simply too cute to look like a traveling vagabond on vacation. The faces of the uber hot valets when they saw up pull up invoked all kinds of shame.
So yesterday, I cleaned Chili out and sold her out for an SUV—a Nissan Rogue. It’s gray, which I hate, but it is what it is since the deal was just something I couldn’t walk away from.
So, what’s the rub?
Losing Chili for a much needed family car is another way my life has changed since becoming a mom. It was the end of another chapter. It was another thing I gave up for the good of my family.
I don’t regret it, but I’m so sad, so so sad. I’m all in my feels.
Cause I’m a wee bit selfish and petty.
I knew trading Chili in would be hard for me, but I teared up as I stood in CarMax, looking at her one last time, reminiscing about our good times and how I was sad to close this chapter on my pre-Hope single, footloose and fancy free life.
Since then, I’ll admit that I’ve had two all out snot-riddled sobbing sessions since coming home with the new car.
Grief is a beeotch and it hits you in the worst ways at the worst times.
I know it’s not about the car; it really is about what the car represents.
Now, instead of this distinctive cute car, I’ve got a great car that is just like everyone else’s great and reasonable car. . Heck I’ve already tried to break into two other cars like it while shopping ,and it’s not been quite 24 hours since I signed the papers.
I always knew where Chili was in a parking lot. <snif>
And did I mention that Hope is unimpressed? The source of disinterest in part stems from the fact that I deviated from my intended purchase plan. In essence, she’s salty because I didn’t buy the car I originally intended to test drive and purchase and plan changes generally don’t make her feel safe. So, there’s all that drama left to unpack too.
The new car is new and different in a cool way, but it’s another change, it’s another accommodation required of this life, that frankly I didn’t give a lot of thought about until about 6 months ago. Another naive parenting pothole for me, I guess.
I will fall in love with the new car. It will get a name and develop a personality, and I will learn to find her in the parking lot. In time the new car will allow me to cart Hope and some friends around, take her to summer band camp and maybe even take her away to college. This will be a great chapter. I know it will.
And in time, I will be able to remember Chili and our time together and not be sad. I’ll remember it for what it is—a chapter in this life—and I will think about when I’ll be able to get another Mini. It will happen, and we’ll all be happy.
Until then, I’m a bit sappy about this required change.
January 31st, 2016 at 8:29 pm
I hear you, I was upset when I had to part with my Dodge Neon for a larger vehicle for my then two kids in car seats….sigh…ah well it takes time you are still cool now you are gray lightening cool.
January 31st, 2016 at 9:28 pm
Awww, twinsies…I had the Neon sport in red. Loved that car too.
Yes, taking naming suggestions. I do love the new ride and I’m sure in time I’ll bounce back from this too.
February 1st, 2016 at 8:53 am
I was sad when I sold my car too. I probably didn’t really have to but I seemed like I should. I miss my BMW she was soo fast….my first car out of college. Now I drive a SUV too….lovingly dubbed the Tank. According to my sister (who used to be a car saleswoman) I got the SUV for serious soccer moms, lol. I will say, even though its not as fast…the remote start makes it all ok (especially in the winter).
February 1st, 2016 at 11:35 am
Um… I feel this. It all part of this process of letting go of the people we were pre-kid. I just had to get rid of my old car for a safer “Family-Friendly” vehicle. Only my car wasn’t fancy like Chili. It was an absolute rust bucket. But I loved what it represented– it screamed “I don’t care.” It was also so easy to spot in a parking lot because it was over 15 years old.
Now I have a 2013 Toyota Camry. Whaaaamp, whaaaaamp…
February 1st, 2016 at 8:13 pm
Sounds like you need some awesome bumper stickers to make your new ride stand out in the parking lot.
You’re not alone in your attachment to cars. I sold my ’96 Toyota when I was diagnosed with epilepsy and had my driver’s license revoked, but didn’t shed a tear despite the BIG life change that represented (serious illness, loss of independence). Now that I have driving privileges back, I have a minivan and I’m trying to get my wife to sell her car because we really don’t need two vehicles. She hates driving the minivan because it’s “so uncool” and can’t fathom selling her car because she doesn’t want to be “just a mom.” So, while I can’t understand the attachment and symbolism of cars, I also don’t understand my wife, so you’re in good company!
February 2nd, 2016 at 5:44 pm
I see that many other people can relate to this feeling. I had this lovely 99 Honda Civic Si. Red. Stick shift. Sexy. Powerful. Now I drive a Nissan Murano, our family car. It is less of a stripping of myself and more of a transition into another phase. But it is still difficult. I still wish I had that car…
February 2nd, 2016 at 5:52 pm
Hey we both have Nissans now… #brightside
February 2nd, 2016 at 5:56 pm
Maybe we can get a sponsorship. Nissan – the official car of the Add Water and Stir podcast. #dreambig
February 2nd, 2016 at 6:05 pm
I am about that life!
February 2nd, 2016 at 5:45 pm
Instead of a goodbye to your pre Hope life, the new car is a recognition of your life long commitment to Hope.
MM just got rid of his 2-door sports car. His children and I were more upset than him about it! But, in his words, his life is in a different place now, so a different car is needed.
I understand the feeling of loss, but look how much you’ve gained! Hope and a tenor sax!
February 5th, 2016 at 10:03 pm
This is the opposite of my experience…with Sasha leaving and my identity crisis (as a result)..I traded in my Nissan Rogue for my Mustang. It *meant* something to not have a family car anymore and all the feelings of not having a family to put in it. sigh…i hear you