Life rarely turns out the way I expect it to. I make pronouncements, I know how I’m going to do this or that, and things just take that unexpected turn.
Yesterday was Baby Girl’s 16th birthday, and since last summer, she’s been talking about getting a car. We thought maybe she could have the MR’s old ’99 F-150, but the transmission went out in July. Then there’s the ’02 minivan that she could drive. I know it sounds like Dory (from Finding Nemo) when she’s talking whale–maybe the power steering is going out–but it runs fine for the moment.
BG had strong opinions about that minivan, and I simply told her she wasn’t getting a car before I got something new; that was never going to happen. I don’t believe in getting a kid a car just because they turn 16–that’s just foolishness.
Then circumstances change, perspectives change, and I looked at the situation with new eyes. Sweet Miss headed off to college, and there went our built-in chauffeur. I’ve been driving BG to school everyday this year. That means I’m on the road a little before 7 am lining up in the creep and crawl at the high school. And when I volunteer and she has practice, I’ve spent over two hours driving back and forth.
Well, couldn’t she just take the bus? Yea, but it comes around 6:40 am, and I’d have to be ready even earlier to drive her the mile and a half to the bus stop. I may be a mean mom at times, but even I won’t make my daughter walk down a narrow dirt road to the cemetery in the dark each morning. You heard right, the bus stop, trash pick up, the mail, and the newspapers are all found at the entrance to the cemetery–it’s the hub of our neighborhood.
We don’t have any extra vehicles, I’m not going to be trapped up here in the middle of nowhere five days a week, so we decided to get a car. The MR started looking at used vehicles and found that for a little more, he could get a new one.
So we ended up buying BG a 2013 Ford Fiesta. We got it for the same price as her sister’s 2011 Fiesta. It has a three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty and five years of road side assistance. BG should be almost through with college before we have to worry about her getting stuck on the side of the road.
And this morning, she drove off on her own for the very first time. I did get a text that she’d made it to school safe and sound.
The MR is very handy around the home, and I can cook and craft with the best of them, but we know nothing about fixing up old cars. A new, safe vehicle with warranties and great gas mileage just made sense for us and our family.
Along with getting her license, BG went out for Chinese food with some friends and enjoyed cupcakes and laughter back at home.
Although she’s growing up, she’s still our Baby Girl.
I think each family, each child is different, and you just have to be willing to let go of all the nevers and do what’s right for you and yours. Next time I start making foolish declarations, you can remind me of that.
Have you ever had to eat your words? What was your first car?
My first car was an ’82 Ford Escort my dad gave me when I transferred to the University of Washington in 1986. It died on the side of the road a few years later, and I replaced with it a baby poop yellow ’78 Toyota Corolla that was totaled when I bought it for $950. We got a station wagon when I was pregnant with Sweet Miss. It died eight years later while we were delivering birthday invites, and we replaced it with the whale-talking minivan. I seem to drive my cars into the ground.