We say good bye to our first mini van this week.
We purchased it a few months after finding out that we were pregnant with our youngest son. At the time we had a one year old, a three year old, a small, expensive Nissan Frontier and zero dollars. Zero dollars didn’t seem like such a bad thing at the time as we had had much less than zero dollars while pregnant with our daughter the previous year. And by much less I mean, “borrow money from grandma to pay the bills during maternity leave” dollars.
So we sold the pick up, found a low rate used car dealership and purchased a crappy mini van.
Low rate is an understatement here. The salesman also doubled as the financier and mechanic, and swore at both the computer screen and loan officer in front of the kids while processing the paperwork. Which caused me to giggle, which caused me to choke while trying to stifle my giggle, which caused me to have to walk away from his desk choking. It took almost three hours to complete the process, a time period that allowed our son to take several of the toys from the kids’ play area into the bathroom and dump them in the toilet. In full disclosure, I threw those toys right back into the toy bin, so maybe think twice before ever letting your kid touch anything in a low rate car dealership.
The van lasted three and half years.
We often joked that it was a rescue and we didn’t know what it had been through in it’s previous life. It took months to get the title from somewhere in Connecticut where it had been repossessed. The A/C never quite worked right, a fact that three trips to the mechanics couldn’t fix and the electrical componants misfired often. Three of the windows didn’t go down and the remaining one rarely went back up.
I also backed into three different vehicles with it during that time. Three children under the age of four is a good recipe for distracted driving.
Those years were some of the most beautiful of our lives as we watched the children and our careers grow. I can’t say I cherished every moment, but knowing how quickly time passed with our older two children definitely changed the way I approached the early days with our youngest son. I knew the sleepless nights would pass, that he would hit each milestone at his own pace, that the unintelligible crying would give way to words in what seemed like an instant.
Those years were also some of the hardest, filled with diapers, daycare expenses, doctors appointments and hospital bills. The constant shortage of resources- time, money, sleep- was frustrating, exhausting and at times completely defeating. I read and speak often about the importance of staying “in the moment,” but there were times during those three years when I would have given anything for a reprieve from the moment. “This too shall pass” became somewhat of a mantra, though it often fell flat in providing any comfort.
After seven years, we are finally on the other side of that stage. All three kids are now out of diapers and two are mostly out of day care. We’re no longer constantly concerned about the next paycheck and our newish van has four windows that go both up and down and a fully functioning air conditioning system.