(A secret window into our life – Ushering a child to adulthood)
Green, Green, Green, you have become a part of the family at this point. If you could talk, oh, the stories you could tell. You have seen and witnessed and heard some of the deepest secrets of our family.
As we near a quarter of a million miles with you, and as we sadly need to slowly part ways, I reflect on some of our wonderful and not so wonderful times together.
When we first met you, it was not love at first site. Your mint (or booger) green was a bit off. But your other features made you worth it. You had all the other things we were looking for. You could keep the kids happy with your entertainment systems, you had leather seats that heated up in the cold weather, frankly, you were ugly on the outside but beautiful on the inside.
You were a metaphor for the life and the children we were/are raising while owning you.
In the beginning we were so careful with you. Not to hurt you, or break you, but as time went on, you became one of the clan. We beat up on you when we were frustrated, you got dings of your own. The little ones wrote on you even though it was against the rules, in all you had settled comfortably in the family.
All those miles spent together, it really was incredible. By my math, we could have driven back and forth from California close to 80 times. You have witnessed more fights than I am proud of, both the adults and the kids, but you have also seen some of the greatest kindnesses that we have to offer as a family.
You’ve been to more states than most of your friends, and we hope that you’ve enjoyed the ride (pun intended) as much as we have.
I remember that time, that you got stuck – my fault – in the mud/ice/snow near the Topsfeild fair grounds. That kind tow truck guy hooked something up to your underside and pulled you out. I distinctly remember hearing some kind of crack as he was doing that, only later did I realize that he broke you in a deep deep way. We fixed you, but you were never the same. I attribute the much of your struggles, to that time.
I remember when we got stuck in the snow in the mountains in New Hampshire, and had that other suburban push us from the back. That’s how you got that deep dent in the trunk.
Despite our harshness, you were friendly, you started up (most of the times) and gave it all you had.
We drove to Bubby and Zeidy’s house with you so many times, and they got to spend time with you as well. You provided some kind security when we went anywhere with you. You were just ‘ol reliable. You got us there and back, no complaints.
This doesn’t mean you didn’t talk back ever or misbehave, boy oh boy did you ever, but usually there was a good underlying reason for it. You didn’t run out of gas on your own, we did forget to do that so you sputtered. There was that time that you kept on ruining your tires, that is when we learned what a tie-rod is and that if it is bent, it had ramifications elsewhere on the body.
You seemed to have a knack for driving on nails and screws more than any other one I know, but we dutifully patched you up, and got your road worthy again.
You didn’t comment when we spoke roughly with one another. When we spoke about others. When we discussed our deepest dreams and fears about our children. You just listened, and let us process our thoughts. You’ve seen us laugh harder than anyone else has, and you’ve seen us crying from the deepest pains and panic.
You’ve seen us at our best, and you’ve seen us at our worst. As much as you have seen, there is so much more that lies deep in our hearts, so deep, that we couldn’t express them, even in front of you.
You know better than most the sacrifices we made/make to give our children a Jewish education in Boston. Though it is merely 20 miles or so away, the average commute takes an hour or more.
We have learned so much at your expense, including the traffic patterns. We learned that Sunday mornings, roads are wide open, Sunday evenings, not so much. We learned that if you leave NY after 9:00 and before 11:00, you can be back home in just over 4 hours. We have learned that after a late Red Sox or Celtics game in the post season the ride into Boston would be much faster the morning after.
You witnessed us being good parents at times, and not so great at others. You also have a stake in this journey. You have been a good example and a bad example at times.
You’ve shown the kids good, religious and educational videos when we were focused and dedicated, and stupid mindless, useless ones – usually from a Redbox (those were hot when we got you) – when we were tired and lazy.
You’ve seen us yell at our kids, when we were tired and venting other frustrations, on our unwilling participants, and you’ve seen us do the mature thing and apologize when we owned up and recognized that they hadn’t deserved it.
My my, you’ve seen a lot.
You’ve seen meltdowns over homework loads that were too heavy, and catty fights with friends, and you’ve helped carry more Science Fair and Torah and Math Fair projects than I can count to school.
You’ve driven in rough weather, and all terrains even though you were not made as a 4 x4. We pushed you, hard and on occasion you groaned under the heavy weight we put you under. Like the rest of us, you’ve learned that to be a honest part of our family and real life, you don’t have to love everything that you do, you just have to do it.
You’ve been rewarded (usually after significant neglect – remember when it took us two weeks to find the source of the fruit flies- ) with thorough cleansings, both inside and out. The reward for cleaning you super well, often led to our greatest times with you, in the car wash tunnel, laughing and shouting in excitement and fear at the huge brushes and swirly rags that washed and wiped you. Remember those huge air blowers that blew so hard, that they made air come inside the car as they blew all the residue water off of you? We did have some special times together.
We’ve taken care of you, but like everyone in this family, you may have had to wait a bit longer at times until your needs were fully addressed. And like with the kids, unless it was a life and death situation (brakes and the like) a squeaky sound sometimes got pushed to the corner until there was time to investigate and resolve.
You were always fed (gas and oil changes etc.) but sometimes you didn’t get the flavor, brand or speed you were hoping for.
We get it, we’ve seen it, there are times when you not-only feel, but you are literally are being held together by whatever (color) tape was available at the moment, but you know what, you did and continue to keep it together.
We were good parents to you. Flawed, but good. I can’t say we couldn’t have tried harder, because we could have. I am comfortable saying we tried really really hard. Hard enough.
You’ve seen life. You’ve seen us, regular folks, trying our best to be our best, but in reality just struggling day by day like everyone else make a meaningful life out of the material that Gd gave us.
So, while this particular chapter with you is slowly coming to its end – your replacement has been identified – take the lessons we have taught you with you, wherever the next phase of life brings you. You are an adult now in the eyes of your car religion, it is time for you to cut the cords and become a man on your own, and fend for yourself. We will always be here for you, to reminisce, review stuff we learned together, to laugh and cry about times and experiences gone by, but now you need to chart your own path forward.
Go out there and get ‘em! You got this.
Go back my son, read this article again. Now, this time, every time I write the word car, insert your name there. Know how much you are loved. How much we have invested everything we have in you. Know how much we have tried to prepare you for this time you are in now. Independence isn’t fun, but its so real, it is what makes you a man. We messed up often, but hope we have made up for those lackings and shortcomings.
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