Last week my precious Jeep got bad news from the shop. This Jeep is the one my parents bought new for me for my 16th birthday. It is the Jeep I drooled over, leaving a slimy trail of hormonal teenage slobber on my mom's car window every time we drove past the dealership. It is the Jeep I drove through high school, taking me to school, parties, flute performances and babysitting gigs. It watched me fly down the interstate, barefoot, windows down, with wet hair and blue toenails on my way to another tardy at school. It is the car I drove to my first jobs at Red Lobster, at a real estate office (receptionist), and teller at First Union (where I met my hubby). It is the car I escaped in when my parents were going through their divorce. It is the car I drove home from college on the weekends to see my mom, eat some homecooked food, and do my laundry. It is the car that watched me grow from a young girl to a nearly middle aged woman, and saw me safely through many road trips, relationships, and completely different life circumstances. It is the car Ryan and I were in when we first started dating and I got pulled for expired tags and I went postal on the cop because my parents were getting divorced and fighting over who had to pay for my bills, and I was an unstable emotional mess. It is the car I watched Ryan drive away from me, after helping me move in and leaving me all alone in New York City when I spent a summer there as a magazine intern. It was my first time in the city at all, and this country girl cried with only the doorman to comfort me as the red glowing tail lights carried the love of my life and all of my comfort away in a white jeep. It was the car I hopped into when the cops supposedly came to get Ryan who had a suspended license, but really was an elaborate part of Ryan's proposal of marriage. It is the car I hopped out of when he placed a ring on my finger. It is the car I drove for four years as a school teacher, learning so much and losing so much of my innocence. It is the car I drove for the first year of Jack's life and it watched me grow as a wife and mother for those first few years.
Yep, ol' Bessie and I have been through alot together. Two years ago when I was pregnant with Sammy, the rotator belt gave out on me while I was driving home on a busy highway with Jackson. The brakes wouldn't respond, the ac and whole electrical system went out, and the steering got all wonky. To this day I don't know how I made it back to our apartment with a screaming baby in the backseat and my own tears. When I got back I called Ryan and my Dad and swore I would never drive my beloved Jeep again. I've nearly kept that promise, and I bought my minivan a few months later.
Ryan took over the Jeep because I selfishly traded in his Lexus for my van, and he was hoping to run it into the ground. At 212,000 miles, I guess it felt run into the ground. He bought a new car last week, but the Jeep is still sitting in our driveway.
Letting it go will be like giving up a piece of myself; a valuable piece of my history. But in some ways it will also be a way of shedding my careless youth and embracing the mom I am today. Bittersweet.