Last week I gave my car away. I gave it away because I have a new one. I gave it away because when I looked on Parker’s price guide it was so little to be charge anyone for.
And yet the car has meant so much. I got it in December 2005 when my eldest son was 2 ½ years old. His then childminder had the same car and it was by far the most I had ever paid for a car before. This was the car that carried my toddler to and from the child minder then playgroup and then sometimes to school.
This is the car that held my youngest son at only a day or two old, it kept them both safe. We had sunscreens with pictures of cartoon elephants on and toys dangling off the car seat for them to play with.
This was the car that witnessed me doing that awful parent thing, where your child is screaming and arching their back and you have to physically bend your child in order to strap them into the car seat to get to work on time.
This is the car which carried Zap our dog in the boot. He would poke his head over the seats but dutifully stay in the back. Apart from the one time where he was pushing his luck at the same time we went over a humped back bridge and the kids found themselves with a confused dog on their laps.
This is the car which has been my kids’ childhood car. Youngest has known no other and eldest can’t remember the ones before. This car lasted 12 years, if the new one lasts that long they will both be in their 20s and long gone.
Adventures and friends
This is the car which has driven over 216,000 miles and never had an accident and never broken down. It has taken us to visit friends, to football, to yoga, to swimming, to the beach, the cinema and the supermarket.
It has carried friends, mine and the kids’ and taken us to visit friends and family. It has allowed us to maintain and create loving supportive links to the people in our lives. It has held my family safely for 12 years. It has protected, enabled and carried us and I so appreciate it for that and feel so grateful to have had all those experiences and all those lovely people in our lives.
It has enabled me to work, carried me to employment, conferences, trainings I have led and been participant it. Without it getting to my PhD, my Indian Head qualification, my PG certificate in coaching would have been impossible. The car has allowed me to thrive.
It is not what this car is in itself that makes me sad to say goodbye. Of course I know it is metal and wires and rubber and lights. It is not what it is that matters, it is what it means to me that is important to me. It has been the container of stories and laughter and arguments and tears. It has carried us to people we love, to adventures, to new experiences, to things we have dreaded and away again.
It is easy to take it for granted when it always works, we just expect it to start and drive and when it has needed a new exhaust or new tyres it is a bit of a shock; it’s needs are invisible in service of ours. When you live in the country having a reliable car is crucial and this car has been beyond reliable; it has been trustworthy and loyal. It has served us well.
When my dog died, someone laughingly commented that he was my longest relationship to date (15 years) and the car follows closely and I can see so many ways that this car is the metaphor what I think a relationship ideally is:
- A safe vehicle which allows both parties, all parties, to do the things they love, see the people that matter and go the places which excite them either alone or together
- Supportive of developing and maintaining meaningful and satisfying relationships
- A container for all our emotions; non-judgmental, accepting and holding
- A vehicle to enable self-development, achievement and abundance.
- A loyal, protective, reliable, comfortable space, capable of moving fast or slow, and able to keep going on a long hall and up steep hills.
- Able to let you drive but also be a passenger when needed.
- Able to adapt to suit needs as they change over time. At one time my car was full of baby toys and now it’s full of psychology books. I added a roof rack and a tow bar, and the baby seats are long gone.
- Fun and enjoyable.
- Simple and easy to drive.
I am so pleased to be able to hand on our much loved car to our neighbours who are reliable, loyal, supportive and kind. It seems fitting that they should have it and we will still be able to see it. I have a fond dream that when the 17 year old who will inherit it goes off to university, it might come back and teach my Eldest to drive and take care of him too.
May we all find such great life companions, whether metal with wheels or flesh with feelings.