Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Welcome to the family, new van!

Welcome to the family, new van.  She has a lot of miles ahead of her.

Cooper poses with his counselors at Springhill.

The gang is all back together after three boys spent a week at Springhill Camp.

I vividly remember when she became part of our family.  It was right before a family vacation to Michigan, and I was pregnant with Cooper.

By she, I'm referring to our minivan.

And for those who may not know Cooper, he is about to enter middle school.

You do the math.

In van years, she was old.  In fact, within the last several months, she had entered hospice.

Throughout the years, her once shiny exterior became tarnished with a collection of dents and bangs.  Once the first dent happened, we sort of lost the will to fight it.  The interior didn't look much better.  When we acquired the van, we were knee-deep in the goldfish and sippy cup years.  At points, it felt like the goldfish were multiplying and practically swimming on the floor. 

As the boys aged, so did the amount of snacks, trash, and crumbs they contributed to the van.  No joke: once we were doing a deep clean of the van and found a FULL sandwich wedged underneath a seat.  I wish I could say this was the worst of our discoveries; but as a courtesy to anyone who may be reading this while eating, I will hold back many of the filthiest memories.

I think my van put my father-in-law, a former car dealer, into full-blown panic attacks.  Once when we were out of town and he was managing the boys, he surprised us with a full detail of our van.  This was one of the sweetest gestures I've ever encountered (and I'm sure a way he could cart the boys around without feeling the need to put his head between his knees and take breaths into a paper bag).

After ten years and 214,000 miles, we knew it was time.  Our van has served us faithfully for a decade, but she was ready to go where old vans find rest.  (God bless her.)

When Chris pulled into the dealership and asked the sales representative the trade in value of our van, he replied, "You will have to give us $800 to take it off your hands."

We worked out a few dollars for her trade, gave the keys to the dealer, and walked away with a newer, sturdier model.  I'm grateful to now have a new car with enough power outlets to light up a Christmas tree (and without a cassette player).  

 While I'm happy to be the owner of a new van, I have mixed emotions about leaving my old one.  This van's predecessor carted us safely through hundreds of thousands of miles, to and from numerous family milestones, while we engaged in conversations that ranged from the hysterical to the heartbreaking.  We strapped brand new babies, fresh from the hospital, into her car seats.  We cautiously placed unseasoned potty trainers into her boosters (and prayed for dry seats).  She carried too many carpools to count.  She transporting both the winning and losing teams, science fair projects, camp gear, Costco runs, and anything and everything in between.

I imagine this new van will be present during the next chapter of family events and the many milestones to come.  

I told my new van she has big wheels to fill. 

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