Saying Goodbye to the End of an Era

Yesterday was a momentous day in our house.  Yesterday we said good-bye, not farewell, not see you later and not until we meet again.  It was a full on good-bye.  That good-bye marked the end of an era.

Yesterday we said, “Good-bye, Friend” to the TRVLN ZU.

Last week, we bought a new car.  One that replaces my beloved TRVLN ZU.  Last week I graduated from mommy-van to a big girl car.  There are no more sliding doors or snacks ground into the interior.  There are no more carseat marks on seats.  There is no longer any need for the power sliding doors and carseats.  My kids are big now.  They can open and close car doors.  They don’t need ziplock bags full of snacks to keep them occupied.  That era has ended.   
Last week when we bought the new car, the staff asked me if I wanted to trade in the TRVLN ZU but I just couldn’t do it.  At that very minute, I froze as my throat closed up and tears welled in my eyes.  I mentally kicked myself for allowing crazy emotions to take over all because of a car.  Stan teased me repeatedly saying, “It’s not like we’re putting a dog to sleep!  It’s a CAR!”  But is it really just a car?  
Not to me.  To me, it was an extension of our house and our kids.  It was part of the family.  The TRVLN ZU has been a part of so much of our lives.  
I bought the van all by myself.  In 2005 Stan had a crazy work schedule and couldn’t help me buy a new car.  So I did my research, test drove a couple of Toyota Siennas, picked out the one I wanted, negotiated the deal and signed all the paperwork without him.  I drove it home, opened the garage door and pulled inside.  Stan didn’t lay eyes on the van until he pulled in the garage later that evening.  He climbed in, climbed all the way in the back, put the middle seats down and put up his feet.  Stan declared right then and there it was the nicest car he had ever owned.  And I smiled a happy smile knowing I did OK.  
The van had 12 miles on it when I drove it home.  It had 188,738 miles when we sold it to Carmax yesterday.  188,726 miles we put on it.  188,726 miles we lived in it.  So many memories were made in the TRVLN ZU.  It took the kids to a from school, faithfully.  It got us to a from any and all hockey games, tournaments, practices and hockey get togethers, without a worry in the world.  It took us to dance competitions, swim meets and recitals, with an unrivaled loyalty.  The TRVLN ZU took us to many a beach vacation, packing in every imaginable piece of equipment we could ever need.  The van took us to lacrosse games and tournaments, happily.  It took loads of kids and friends anywhere and everywhere we needed and wanted to go, and it did it perfectly.  The TRVLN ZU was an extension of our home.  
Yesterday, not only did we say “Good-bye” to a faithful friend but we also said, “Good-bye” to the end of an era.  We no longer need what the mommy-van stands for.  Not only have I graduated to a big-girl car but the kids no longer need what the mommy-van provides.  And that makes me a little sad.  They have graduated too.  
Stan, Claire and I stood and watched as the guy at Carmax took the TRVLN ZU license plates off the van.

And my heart hurt a little bit as the plates flopped to the side.
I handed over the title to the TRVLN ZU and watched as it became someone else’s.   

The plates to TRVLN ZU plates sat on the counter, empty and lonely without their van.
And my eyes stung a little.  Claire kept hugging me and saying it would be ok.  The van would be OK without us and us without it.  It was time to say good-bye to TRVLN ZU and the end of an era.  It’s time to usher in a new era.  I know it’ll be OK.  I just don’t have to like it a whole lot.  Yet.
Oh, for the love of my children…

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