We said goodbye to our Toyota 4Runner this week. My husband was in a car accident and thankfully he’s fine, but the air bags deployed and the front bumper was destroyed, which made a car that old, with that many miles not worthy of saving.
I know it’s ridiculous to feel emotional about a car, but I do. We brought Future Husband home in that car. I remember it vividly: it was about 9 o’clock at night and super cold. I sat in the back with the baby and warned my husband to go slow. I was so tired, anxious about taking a jaundiced baby home. I was wearing the same thing on the way home that I wore on the way to the hospital.
We had plans to give Future President this car when he turned 16. “Where’s Daddy’s car?” the baby now asks whenever we pull into the driveway at home. “It’s broken. It’s gone. It’s getting smashed.”
The car dealership let us keep the car overnight when we were debating whether to buy it. So we drove up one of the canyons out of Salt Lake City to see how it did climbing a mountain. It was powerful, so much more powerful than the Ford Explorer we had used to move across country, a car that literally died five miles from our final destination. So we bought the powerful SUV, with dreams of someday pulling a water ski boat behind us, dreams of camping trips and packing it full with kids’ gear like bikes and skis.
My husband and I drove to D.C. in a car packed to the ceiling with our meager belongings as we set out for law school and work on the Hill; we drove back across country three years later to Seattle for more school; a year later, we drove to Salt Lake City for a new job; and three years later, we packed up a giant U-Haul and the 4Runner to go “home” to the Pacific Northwest. Here’s to more adventures in a car that gets better gas mileage than that red beast.
I’m still not convinced we are buying into the whole Santa thing. We didn’t leave cookies or write a letter or sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn. But we did continually tell Future President to put things on his Christmas list and that Santa would bring him toys.
On Christmas Eve, Santa delivered a very large box and let his elves do the heavy lifting and assembly. It’s a good thing Santa’s elves got stared relatively early because it took over three hours to put together the “big” present from Santa.
We couldn’t have done it without the assistance of additional elves (aka brother and sister-in-law). The assembly that took far longer than anticipated was worth it, just to see his face. After playing with it for a while, he told me, “I need to tell thank you to Santa.”
It’s become a parenting tick: even when I’m driving by myself, whenever I see a plane, train or school bus, I get excited and almost turn around to point out the moving vehicle to my non-existent child. I do the opposite in grocery stores when I have him with me – I actively avoid toy aisles or displays with any vehicle since Future President thinks that all trips to Fred Meyer, Target and Costco involve buying him something.
When Future President is in the car, he’s excited whenever he sees a plane, train or school bus, and in addition, loves bicycles, garbage trucks, dump trucks and emergency vehicles. But he’s the most excited when he sees a “Mack” truck. Inevitably he says, “Mack truck! Lightening McQueen inside!” He thinks every semi-truck is a Mack truck and has yet to distinguish between the Peterbilt, Volvo, etc. Hell, I didn’t even know there was more than one kind of semi-truck before my kid became completely obsessed with the movie Cars.
If you’re the parent of a car-obsessed kid, I’m curious about what you do to contain the madness. We already have the Cars carrying case and I love the idea of using this Ikea knife rack to display the cars in his room. And right now, because I haven’t unpacked any of my books, our bookshelves have been taken over by planes, cars and other miscellaneous toys. It’s driving me crazy. I’d love hear any genius ideas about how to reign in the mess. (Beside the obvious, of course. Remember, he’s an only child and the only grandchild on both sides, which means he is spoiled rotten.)