Last night I drove my minivan for one last trip around my neighborhood to pick up a few groceries. My normal reaction to driving the burgundy behemoth is disgust and embarrassment. After two car accidents and years of driving my kids in her everywhere they’ve needed to go, it’s less than appealing. “Wear and tear” is an understatement, at this point!
As many problems as that van has given me, I found myself patting her steering wheel in tearful appreciation. Despite the roar of the muffler that announces my impending arrival, the sagging headliner, or the quirks (e.g. the passenger window that won’t roll down, the radiator that needs refilled after several trips to my meeting place with my ex, or the on again off again electrical system) this van has been one of my most loyal supporters during my divorce.
I remember the day I bought her. I was a single mom with barely two nickels to scrape together when the car I took with me from my former marriage completely died one night on the way home from work. I bawled my eyes out, not sure how I would get to work the next day, to a job that my children depended on me to have to provide for all of their needs. My ex thought it was hilarious that I was having car problems, and I felt helpless in every way.
An angel of a friend let me borrow an extra car of her dad’s for about two months, then the miracle of a tax refund arrived that allowed me to purchase the burgundy beast!
She was actually quite attractive, for a soccer mom vehicle, when I first bought her! To be honest, she could have looked just as she does now, and I would have thought her the most beautiful thing ever! She was my first major thing I accomplished completely by myself as a divorced woman. I was in a terrible position, and with money I earned by myself I made the purchase of my first ever vehicle solely titled and paid for by me!
I never really wanted a minivan, but she was the most practical choice, at the time. As the years passed, I became more ashamed of how she looked and drove. She took some pretty hard abuse from a carload of kids and reckless teenage drivers; but, she made every visitation with my kids, every trip to my job to earn a paycheck, and every out-of-home memory for the past six years possible.
What’s more, she’s mine- all mine! No smirking ex-husband had a hand in helping me select or pay for her. She and I were a battered and bruised team of girl power, ready to conquer the world on life’s great highway!
My final drive last night was brought about by the perpetual forward motion my life has experienced since divorce. The movement isn’t always rapid, and sometimes I am forced to take several steps backwards before taking another big one in the right direction. The important thing is that, no matter what, I am always continuing to rise from the ashes of my divorce like a triumphant phoenix!
My relationship with my van completely transitioned last night with the purchase of a newer vehicle. My new car is more “me” than the van, and a sign of the increased stability and progress I have made since my life fell apart when I divorced. Driving around in a much more stylish and newer vehicle is exhilarating after years in my “grocery getter”; but, I have nothing but love and respect now for that van that protected me and helped to make my post-divorce life possible.
My new car represents an achievement in my ability to grow as a person and to take care of my family. She is another step toward continued recovery and control of my destiny. With one dream accomplished, who’s to say what my future may still hold? What else can this woman achieve in the aftermath of divorce against all odds and because I put my mind to it?
It will be my honor to find out!
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