Dear Future New Car,
Allow me to apologize in advance for buying you.
I know when you see me saunter up with my stylish husband, you will think we are taking you to your ideal forever home. One look at my jaunty Target fedora, and you’ll expect to be loved and cared for, treated with the gentleness implied by my calm exterior and smiling face.
But I need to warn you, we have four children at home- three of whom are boys with curious minds and a knack for destruction, and the girl is too young to remember not to stick chewed gum in hidden places.
I’m so sorry.
If the United Nations had a Domestic Car Abuse Committee, these four faces would be on their list of suspected terrorists:
I know. They look so innocent.
But have you ever seen the first Toy Story movie, dearest Future Car? That boy who destroyed toys and made frightening Frankenstein-like creations would fit in just fine with my kids. In fact, he would be hailed as a hero amongst his peers here, a savant of the highest potential, and a glorious leader whose genius would be revered.
Really, I’m so, so sorry.
I hope I don’t terrify you too much by telling you the truth. If I were in your position, I would want to know what I was facing.
Our last minivan had the names of my children repeatedly written in its upholstery.
It lost an armrest because a boy stood and jumped on it to climb the roof of the van like a mountaineer climbs Everest.
It flaunted Goldfish crumbs and Sonic wrappers like skinny runway models wear the new Givenchy line.
And then there is this: The floor of our old van smelled vaguely of urine as a result of changing 73,954 diapers in parking lots.
Oh, Future Car, you will start out so pretty.
A few months after you meet your new
abusers passengers, you won’t believe me when I tell you I am from a car family. My father’s cars looked better when he sold them than when he bought them. He oiled and greased, washed and waxed, tricked out and fixed up every beauty he ever owned.
In my youth I washed my car every week. I waxed on and waxed off, jut like my wise ol’ dad taught me. Oil changes happened at 3,000 miles. Regular maintenance was performed and recorded. I took pictures of my car, proud and happy to show it love.
But, Future Car, you don’t know what four children can do to a girl who loves cars.
I made a no food rule. But then they fought when we drove to California, and so I passed around a pack of gum, bottles of Coke, and barbecue flavored Pringles.
I told them to keep their fingerprints off the windows, but then the kids got in the car after school and without asking opened packages of Laffy Taffy. The “Laffy” part seems to require sticking the candy to the window.
In the midst of the chaos of baseball practices, booboos, and lost quarters, a woman can only remember to double check the windows have all been closed so. many. times. And it always rains the night that I forget.
I’m afraid, Future Car, that when faced with choosing between your protection and keeping my sanity in tact, I find I care less about you than I probably should.
In all honesty, you’re more like missionary of mercy than a car.
When we take you to the lake and four sets of muddy flip flops leap onto your floormats, look past the dirt to the smiling children who never would have gotten to the shore without you.
When a boy writes “JACK” on his seat in neon orange Sharpie, he is not trying to ruin your lovely upholstery. Like a wolf in the wild, he is marking his territory, showing that he loves you and the seat you provide for him.
And as a word of encouragement, let me reassure you that they are all potty trained now. There are some horrors that you will not have to accept as your lot in life.
Above all else, Future Car, I promise that we will have fun.
We will drive to Fredericksburg and bring home antique chandeliers and vintage chairs together.
You will take us through mountains, across deserts, and through tunnels as children ooh and aah at the view.
We will drive to a hill on the fourth of July and watch fireworks over the lake while we drink root beer and eat cookies in lawn chairs.
It will be a good life, Future Car.
Welcome to the family.
With love and gratitude,