My heart is shattered. I’m not sure where to turn. If you don’t handle stories about tragic loss and grief well, you might not want to read on. Three weeks ago, we welcomed a baby boy into this world. I breathlessly blogged about it. Our little family glowed with excitement of the new arrival.
But today, I have bad news.
Any of you who know me, or who follow me on Twitter, will know that I am also breathlessly excited about another baby.
A few years ago, my wife let me buy my dream car. It was an Audi S4 Avant, a beast of a car – a little A4 wagon that dragged big, clanging balls around with it – to the tune of a 350-horsepower V8. It sounded like it was gargling marbles and broken glass and without getting into too much detail, I had vivid, lovely dreams about this car. I always wanted a 4-door wagon that could slap most cars back down to size, and certainly keep up with any others. It was a friend to me – it kept me company on my commute, it let me strut my immature boy attitude once in a while, it let me drive like an idiot when I wanted to, it tickled my ears with its V8 rumble. It served its purpose – it carried me and my wife and two girls wherever we needed, and we all just seemed so happy. What’s that saying though? All good things….
I had a feeling this day was coming, but I was afraid to face it. I tried, nay pleaded with this car to make three child seats fit. But the S4 is built on a VW Jetta platform, and frankly you’d have a better chance of fitting the cast of The Biggest Loser into a Smart car than getting this done. I did the math – tried to figure out a way. Tried to think of how on Earth I might make this work. But the moment that sealed my fate came in the form of a single tear. I had met my wife, who had all three of my kids in our other vehicle, at the mall. Our other vehicle isn’t ideal either – but will seat the three kids. However, as I sat across the parking lot and watched, thinking she’d be out in seconds, it took her 2-3 minutes of fighting with the stroller, which she had to put in the front seat beside her, to get it out of the car. She struggled mightily, and I give her credit – because I would have bashed that stroller into a tiny little package to get it out of the door by then, and It’s possible my children might have heard a word or two they shouldn’t have. As I came up to the car, she didn’t complain – not one word – but she had a single tear of frustration running down her face. I knew then it was time to get rid of my baby.
Yes, I struggled getting rid of my dream car. Yes, it stings a bit, because I’m dropping it off today to make room for something else. And I’m sure any car enthusiasts reading this will be muttering under their breath, shaking their heads and rolling their eyes, just KNOWING what’s coming. We went and looked at mini-vans.
At first we drove a Toyota Sienna. We had our hearts set on this vehicle, because it seemed quite competent. I couldn’t quite get over how soul-less it was, parked OR driving. But in the end, I need an able people-hauler with room for a stroller and three huge child seats, and excuses weren’t going to cut it. We were on our way to pen a deal at a Toyota dealership on December 31st when I decided we might be short-changing ourselves if we didn’t have a look at the other competitor, and so we quickly swung over to a Honda dealership and tried out an Odyssey. My wife absolutely loved it and even more so when she drove it for a few kilometres, and although it’s not an Audi interior (there’s NOTHING like an Audi interior, by the way), it was miles better and nicer to look at than the Toyota. We swung a deal. We bought a shiny Honda Odyssey and that, my friends, is that.
Today is the Audi’s funeral. I did get to drive it this weekend, and I believe that Edmonton snow fell exclusively for me. Any of my friends know full well that I pray for snow from about September on, and I go out to play in the snow with my Audi – I will gladly blast through a half-tank of gas in an evening – no regrets. Well, I put about 400 kms on my car in the last 76 hours. And no corner in southwest Edmonton remained safe without the chance of a dolphin-grey Audi S4 wagon flying around it at ludicrous speeds. I bagged the crap out of that car for the last few days and we said our good-byes that way, hand in steering wheel. It took it like a champ, never complaining, always giving what I asked of it. As I looked back at my Audi in the garage last night after a 2 hour romp in the snow, it sat there and heat and steam sizzled off of that giant V8. But somehow it wasn’t a sad moment. I think for a second, my baby smiled at me and said “Thanks for the memories, my friend. Thanks for driving me the way an S-car should be driven and for taking care of me. Thanks for our connection.” And I smiled back, assuring it that though this will be its funeral, I might believe in reincarnation for cars, and it will be reborn into a new relationship, with a new owner, and a new friend to take on the streets of Edmonton. Good-bye, my friend, and thanks for understanding what I needed to do.
And if I pass my dream car on the street some day, driving my mini-van, I’m sure we’ll wink at each other and smile, knowing that we’re both in better places, and we might meet again some day.
Remember that shattered heart I talked about earlier? It’s healing, and quickly. The hole in it is filled with a wife and 3 kids that don’t have to worry about where they’ll sit in the vehicle or whether snow from the stroller’s tires will get on the dash or seat, or how on earth we’ll ever make a comfortable road trip with three child seats in our vehicle.
I would have been ashamed to say it but a few years ago, but as it turns out, I’m a proud mini-van owner. Not because it’s a mini-van, but because I made peace with giving up my baby and I did it for my family. I think I’d rather have lopped off a lobe of my liver than have bought a mini-van a few years ago, yet somehow this feels so right.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts, if you’ve went through a similar situation or if you just want to call me bad names and throw rotten fruit for giving up such a rare jewel just to make things work for my family. 😉
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