It was time.
We handed the keys over, and I held back the hitch in my breath as my beautiful, sporty, Vista Blue Mustang went from mine, to not mine.
In it’s place, was a lovely dark grey mom-mobile with luxurious tan leather interior and all the bells and whistles a parent in need of more space could dream of. The seven seats, moon roof and power pedals beckoned. The room for groceries and a stroller was sumptuous, and the lack of back spasms when hefting my child in and out of his car seat pure bliss. The massive amount of cup holders made me want to go get coffee, just to put something in all of them at once.
But my Mustang was important to me. That wonderful growl and powerful engine were a part of how I identified myself for a long time. But, that person has changed; and with it, comes the time to say goodbye. We had thought to keep it, put money into it, and hand it down to my son when he was of age to drive. Economics and practicality won.
That car became ours over the years, but in truth, it was always mine. It was always the car I bought way back then. My own gift to myself.
That car was the last link to my old life, the one before husband, child, and married existence. It was the last link to the time when I felt free, mildly rebellious, and bold enough to wear four inch heels and jeans in the winter because it looked good. It was a time when I had more money than month, liked my music loud, and imagined my alter ego straight out of a Candace Bushnell novel.
Babies? Houses? Finances? Who had time for those thoughts? I was too busy flirting in traffic, driving up winding roads with the window down, or revving the engine at a light beside some poor sod who thought his souped-up Honda could best me. It was getting out at a store, leather biker jacket and sunglasses on, feeling like I was ten feet tall, a size eight, and invincible.
It was also the last link to a time when I was grieving, so terribly, at the gaping hole in my life, where my beautiful Skye should have been, but was not. In some ways, I think I tried to smother the daily reminders with that car, as a distraction, as a way to keep moving, to reinvent myself further away from the reminders of him and my lifelong love of horses.
But that car was also how I moved from that life to the one I had now. The day I bought my Mustang, I met the man who would eventually hold my hand as I got to touch our first son, while strapped to the operating table. When he walked up to me and shook my hand those four-and-a-bit years before, and I asked him to test drive a Mustang in a snow storm, it was the pin-pointed moment when life would change, yet no one, least of all me, knew it.
When he sold me that car, I felt amazing. It was shiny, blue, could go very fast, and was the most expensive thing I had ever bought in my life. It was a statement that I had arrived, that I was confident, fantastic, fabulous, and ready for what was to come.
Was I? Not really. Two years after I bought it, I married the man who sold it to me, and a few months after that, rode home in the back seat beside a brand new baby, amazed that we had found both a car seat and a stroller which could fit within the confines of back seat and trunk.
That car has been to New York City, it has been to Pittsburgh. It has been to Algonquin Park wit ha canoe strapped to its roof. It was the best commuter vehicle I ever drove, and went to drive-ins, horse shows, wine tasting, and off-track beaches. It has brought home renovation materials, an entire armoire from IKEA, and seven foot Christmas trees stuffed in the trunk. It travelled 171,000 kilometres before we traded it in. I have some amazing memories, some scary ones, and lots and lots of memories of how the wheel felt under my hand, how the gas felt under my foot, and how I would get up in the morning and look out the front door, smiling when the broad, hulking form shon in the morning sun.
When we walked back out of the dealership, and my car was gone, in its place my new practical and wonderful vehicle, my heart seized. Where was my car? Where was that symbol of me?
I’ll admit, that night I waited until my husband and son where fast asleep. I sat and looked at pictures, and folded and unfolded the original window sticker, reading the list of options, remembering how exciting it was to have cruise control.
Then I resolved to straighten my shoulders, look forward, and allow myself to enjoy my new mom-mobile. Its just a car, just a bunch of metal and oil and gas and rubber, right? I have memories, and pictures. I have that time in my life to cherish and look back on with a smile.
It was time.