It must have been the picture I posted of Tye yesterday. Why else would you cry over a broken down mini-van? I know. Most people wouldn’t.
This time last year I was on my way to take the big girls to a movie. The van wouldn’t start. I literally wept. It hit me. One day, I wouldn’t have my MomMobile. I thought it was hormones at the time but it happened again this morning. On the way to school Hanan said, “Mom, what kind of car will we have when we move?”
I answered, “This one. I don’t want another car.” I also don’t want a car payment but I really don’t want another car.
“But, Dad says we can’t take this one so what will you drive?”
Hot tears welled up in my eyes. How silly can one person be? Talk about first world problems. Oh no! My husband wants to purchase a new vehicle…
I still remember the day Ray brought that car home. It was my Valentine’s Day gift after he found out he would be deployed to Iraq. It came complete with a 100,000 mile warranty so I could always have it fixed. It was his way of taking care of us.
Over the years, that van has taken care of us. It’s traveled back and forth to see family. It’s been to Disney on more than once occasion. It’s contained meltdowns and brought children home from hospitals and airports. It’s falling apart. It’s my giant well worn purse. It has dings, scratches and dents and isn’t in the best shape, a lot like me but it trudges on. I love that car.
We’ve bonded as a family over washing her. We’ve fought about cleaning her out. She may or may not have a tropical roach infestation but she’s mine. Her television and DVD player no longer work. That only means my kids sing from back seat a little bit louder when we go to the North Shore. She’s a perfect drum section, the perfect place for siblings to spar. I’ve changed diapers in her and mopped up more vomit than I care to think about. She traveled across the ocean to be with us. You’d think I would take better care of her but I think she knows she’s loved. That’s why she just keeps going. Again, kind of like me.
My MomMobile holds stories of dogs and cats. Tucker has his seat. Haole is still finding hers. She’s road weary. She protected us from bisons on an animal safari and had ostriches stick their heads in to check her out. She made the girls’ trip to FL with Grandma and Nana Bonnie often riding illegally between seats. Cotton candy from the circus has been smeared on her windows. She was the perfect timeout spot for my little temper fuss pot Hanan.
The biggest reason that I can’t seem to let go of that car is the memories she holds. Yesterday I posted a picture of Tye that I found on Facebook. When Ray was in Iraq, he flew to Virginia to help me with Arleigh’s fourth birthday party. Then he was supposed to ride with me from Virginia back to Kentucky. Those are some of my best memories of just me and Tye hanging out. Arleigh got a Barbie Jeep from Mom. That was his job. Channel Ray and put it together. He couldn’t put that thing together to save his life. I had to call in reinforcements. He was a super hero at the party though. As usual, he entertained everyone.
We had a really great weekend. It was shocking really. Tye and I never spent hours alone without at least bickering with each other. I honestly don’t believe there was anyone in this world that could make me madder than my brother. Bless him. I wanted to kill him all the dang time. That weekend, he was awesome.
We started on our long drive to Kentucky and he was his usual entertaining self. Especially after Arleigh told him her favorite new joke that she made up.
He thought that was the funniest thing ever. I think he called everyone he knew to tell them. We told that joke for years later. Maybe you had to be there. In fact, I’m sure you had to be there because Tye and his humor were nothing short of infectious.
Just as we were reaching the mountains there was a car that would pull around me. It would speed up and then slow way down right in front of me. I kept hitting my brakes, turning off my cruise control and cursing under my breath. Tye was yammering on. I decided to get well ahead to the car. I sped up. We were talking. Before I knew it I was going well over 70 in a 55 mph zone. I see the car before he can even turn on his lights. I look down, oh no… I’m in trouble. So I look for a spot and pull over and wait.
The cop comes up. I should mention, a friend had given me a magnet for the back of the van. It said, “Half of my heart is in Iraq.” It was the start of the war and things were rough over there. The cop starts talking to me. I handed him my license and registration. I apologized. I explained that I was taking my kids to see their family for Christmas and Tye was along for the ride. I told him about trying to get around the car and Tye had me wound up. I promised to put my cruise control on. He told me he saw me hit my brakes and appreciated that I pulled over and waited for him at a safe spot. I was explaining that I majored in criminal justice and appreciated that he had a job to do. The cop talked to me about Ray and where we were going. Anyone that knows Tye knows he couldn’t stay out of the conversation for long. He whips out his badge and says he’ll keep me under control. Likely story.
Our new friend was not happy. He had me dead to right’s with a big old ticket but what was he going to do. He comes back and gives me a warning. My heart was still slamming against my chest. I thank him, put my blinker on a pull out. The tires hadn’t even rolled over twice and Tye was rubbing his hands together telling me that I owed him. The only reason I got out of the ticket was because he is a cop. I’m telling Tye that maybe it was because I was a poor pitiful military spouse trying to get home for Christmas. That pretty much sums up the conversation for the next 12 or so hours…when he wasn’t in the back seat watching a movie with the girls.
There was also the first time he got in my van. We had been riding around for about 5 minutes when he said, “Brandi, I hope you have seat warmers. If you don’t we have a serious situation over here.” There were seat warmers and he knew it. I sure do miss his dramatics though.
So anyway, it could have been the picture. It could have been thinking about what the van meant when Ray gave it to me. It could have been so many things. It doesn’t matter because I’ve the dork crying over a minivan. Somewhere Tye is making fun of me because of that.