I remember the first time I laid eyes on you, nearly a dozen years ago. I was standing alone on the lot…my husband at work, the children divided up between school and a friend. I was in a rush, no surprise there…and wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for…and then I saw you…the early autumn sun shining down on your body of steel…and I knew I had to have you. I loved your deep bordeaux color, and the fact that it was named after a favorite wine didn’t hurt! I loved that you could accommodate my expanding figure–7 months pregnant behind the wheel is never pretty and always a tricky fit. I loved that you could easily carry 2 car seats and a booster and your automatic sliding door, well, what a treat that was for someone who always had a bag of groceries, a bag of diapers, and scads of babies dangling from my shoulders, arms and hips. But all of that was just icing on the cake. You had me at 5-star safety rating. Hook, line, and sinker!
Over the years, you treated me well. You safely brought a new baby home from the hospital. You carefully took many trips back to the hospital over the years, spending countless nights in the parking lot, waiting for boys to get well and get home. You’ve taken us to beautiful destinations, crossing the country more than once–east to west and north to south. You’ve lulled your passengers to sleep and your sound system has helped keep your drivers awake. You were strong and brave, taking the hits more than once to protect your precious cargo. Remember the time the dump truck in front of us just stopped, and started moving in reverse, oblivious to the sound of your horn and the screams of your passengers. The sound of your crunching front end stopped him in his tracks. You were damaged, but we were all safe in your cabin. And I’ll always be grateful for the time you put your front end between a new teenaged driver and the hit-and-run menace that ran a red light. Another ding in your fender, but I was glad it was you and not the smaller, weaker car that he could have been driving.
Yes, over the years, you were there for me…for us. A home away from home as we travelled to weddings and from funerals. You were a sweet ride for 6 as we headed to family gatherings and celebrations, to visit friends, to move to new homes in new states. You’ve witnessed joyful homecomings and tearful goodbyes, heated arguments and heartfelt apologies, tender moments and difficult conversations. You’ve been filled with spilled soda and squirted with juice boxes. You have had mud tracked on your floors, cheerios stuck in every crevice, papers strewn on every surface. You’ve been the “recipient” of many a carsick child’s “gifts.” And we’ve shared music and singing and laughter…so much laughter. Yes, for many years you were very good to me.
But then things changed…you changed. You started to become unreliable. You were no longer the trusted friend and knight in shining armor that you once were. I forgave you when you left me standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona. I thought it was a fluke…that you were expressing your love of the Eagles and just giving me another story to tell from my cross-country trip that I made with 4 children aged 4-13, while my husband waited to greet us in New Jersey. But things slowly went south from there. You started to leave me standing alone more and more. In parking lots, on major highways, on city streets. Dead batteries, blown tires, burnt transmissions…the list goes on. I felt betrayed…abandoned. But, like the girlfriend that runs back to her man every time he says “Baby, I’m sorry…I’ll be better, I’ll try harder,” I took you back. Well, first I took you to the mechanic via the AAA tow truck that I had on speed dial…but then I’d take you back. And you’d fail me again, and again, and again. Would you start when I needed to go pick up the kids…maybe, but only if I could successfully slip you into neutral. Would the reverse lights ever guide me safely down my driveway again…probably not. Would the sliding door ever close and latch again without leaving the front door open…doubtful. Would the driver side window open when I needed to pay the tolls on the Garden State Parkway or the Pennsylvania Turnpike…no.
I thought you would change, with enough money and enough attention, but I was wrong. I tried everything I could think of to make it work, after all, we’ve been together for 12 years. We’ve shared a history, we’ve shared memories, we’ve shared 154,000 miles. But I’m older and I’m wiser than I was when you drove into my life all those years ago. I’m not willing to put up with that kind of bad behavior anymore. So I’m kicking you (or towing you) to the curb and moving on…to a sweet ride that will treat me right…at least for the next 3 years and 3 month. Don’t be sad, 2000 Ford Windstar Minivan with auto sliding doors and seating for 7, I’ll cherish the memories, but I’m moving on. I could say it’s not you, it’s me…but it’s you. I’m not making excuses for your poor treatment anymore. I deserve better! So 2011 Ford Flex with 5 star safety rating, Microsoft Sync, leather upholstery, seating for 7, retro white roof and a body of shining silver like Sir Lancelot himself–I’m all yours baby…let’s hit the road!