Bear with me, because I'm about to pour a whole lot of emotion into a post about a car. Actually a minivan. But it all started with a car.
When the time came to say good bye to my first car, I was a blubbering mess. I took almost an entire roll (yes, it was that long ago) of pictures of my then 9-month-old baby sitting in the front seat, the back seat and on the hood. And no, it was not lost on me that she hadn't actually ever ridden in (or on the hood) of that bombshell of a red sports car.
I don't know what I was after: pictures I could show her of Mama's first car, pictures of the car Mama gave up when she came along, or a moment in time when one chapter collided with the next?
I do know I felt sad and bewildered as I watched my husband pull away from the curb and around the corner.
It was the car that gave me my first-ever rush of "cool factor" + that took me on my first drive-in date + that I sat in with my soon-to-be best friend and listened to Indigo Girl tapes + that took me through my first relationship + and my first heart break + that my sister and I sang Air Supply power ballads in + that drove me away from home + that filled with roommates and friends + that took road trips + that watched a beautiful love story unfold + that drove me to grad school + that picked up my wedding dress + that parked outside my first grown up job + that drove me to my first prenatal appointment.
Oh how I pined for that sweet little car and her cab full of memories.
Then this morning, it happened again. I've been a bundle of nerves the past few days waiting for this day. It started when my dad came over and helped me to vacuum (literally) five years of our family's treasures from the back of our long-suffering minivan. And when I say treasures I mean pieces of artwork, battered storybooks, a favorite blankie, a lost stuffie, and a forgotten rice krispie square. We also found loose change, Raffi CDs and ticket stubs for so many wonderful adventures.
I put my two-year-old in the front seat and watched as she pretended to drive. And the lump in my throat made itself known. I thought of how many times the sliding doors have welcomed my family: newborns coming home, daddy at the train station, grandparents at the airport, big kids at the bus stop.
Oh how I pined for that trusty old minivan and her cab full of memories.
But there are new adventures around the bend, new features to be enjoyed (hello automatic trunk opener), and new memories to welcome.
Today, I'm giving myself some time to feel the sadness that comes even when changes are good.
And I'll take comfort in the words of Meatloaf, who said it best when he sang: objects in the rearview mirror are closer than they appear.
**this is cross-posted on http://www.latenightplays.com
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