Last week I had a bittersweet day. I replaced my car. It seems peculiar to be sentimental about a vehicle, but Scooby, the 2002 Subaru Outback wagon, has been such an integral part of our lives that its hard to imagine life without him. We bought the car, shiny and brand new, before we were married, before we had the dog or the kids. Before I even had a proper job.
The 202,000 miles on his clock delineate the great waves of life we have lived since then. A measure of the life of a family in miles.
I watched my brand new sparkling diamond engagement ring cast rainbows on his dashboard as I drove to my first proper job.
We sat in his warm leather cocoon as we debated whether to buy our Tahoe cabin.
We filled his trunk with cases of wine as we scoured the wine country planning our wedding.
We collected Geekydog from the animal shelter, her happy dog laugh misting up the windows as we transported her to a new life of dog luxury.
I screamed through the last part of labor with Geekygirl as we hit every red light crossing town, fearing that she would be born right there on the back seat.
I nursed both kids (pulled over and stationary of course), in his passenger seat on many a trip to the mountains.
I locked two year old Geekygirl inside, prompting the most critical test of my negotiating skills to date.
We transported cribs and changing tables, then toddler beds and sectional furniture back from Ikea in his spacious interior.
We transported a dazed and pathetic Geekydog to and from not one but two knee ligament surgeries.
We negotiatied rain, hail and snow storms with sleeping kids and pets all held safe in his steel embrace.
The miles represent hundreds of ordinary journeys to work, to get groceries, to get up and down from Tahoe. Some of those miles were the extraordinary moments; first days at school, interviews for new jobs, unexpected trips to the ER, and bringing new babies home.
I drove the car for the last time last week, down to the dealership, where we left it to its fate. It was a sunny day, and the wood and leather of the steering wheel felt warm, worn, and oh so familiar under my hands. 202,000 miles of hands sitting at ten to two. I felt disloyal, as if I was taking a beloved old dog to the pound. I started to understand why some people keep old cars on blocks in their driveways forever.
We traded it in for a brand new Subaru Tribeca SUV. It is fantastic. A sleek dark indigo blue, with a pristine rich smelling cream leather interior (Though cream may not have been the best choice for a family car, I am already realizing). It is eerily quiet and rattle free, the engine smooth and powerful and the stereo as clear as a bell. I think we are going to have a beautiful relationship. But I'm still not quite over the other guy.
This isn't really a Thansgiving post, its just that the holiday has given me time to write. There's nothing like mulling over ten great years though to feel almost overwhelmed with things to be thankful for. The least of these being really good cars.