One day last week, my husband decided "I think today is the day." He was going to order his new car. He has been waiting for this moment for seven long years. I have been listening to him talk about selecting a new car for seven. long. years. That evening I received a text message. It was a picture of the invoice for the car with the message: "It is done. Thank you for being understanding! I love you!" My reaction? I wanted to cry. Not because I was happy, not because I was excited for him (I actually am excited for him), but because his new car means I have to get rid of my old car.
I purchased my blue Honda Civic in 2003. I paid her off 5 years later. It was the first big purchase I made on my own, no co-signer, no parental assistance, it was all me. She was with me when my boyfriend and I broke up. She carried my belongings and my broken heart to my new single girl apartment. She and I spent my single girl weekends driving to the library, to Blockbuster, the mall, and picking up take out at Wolfman Pizza and Taipei South. Statistically, the Honda Civic was the most stolen car in the city. I actually had nightmares that she was stolen from my apartment building's parking lot. She was my companion on countless road trips to and from Ohio to visit my family. I would crank up the radio, roll down the windows and sing the Indigo Girls and the Dixie Chicks "Wide Open Spaces" as loud as I could. I was in that car (after driving eight hours through the night to be the maid of honor at my best friend's wedding) when I realized I left my bridesmaid dress back in North Carolina. I nervously checked my hair and make up in her rear view mirror before my first date with my husband. We have been together for over 150,000 miles.
Most days, I don't even think about the blue car sitting in the garage. She only gets out and about when we realize she hasn't been driven in six months. She is just collecting dust and acquiring that old car smell. Getting the text that confirmed we needed to get rid of her made me so sad. I sent my best friend a message saying that I irrationally wanted to cry about the situation. She told me it was understandable. It wasn't irrational, it was a piece of my history. That car was single Katie. It is the last thing I have that was mine, all mine, before I was a wife, before I was a mom. I don't want to trade my life now for what it was back then. My life now is so much more fulfilling, and tiring, and harder, and happy all at the same. It's hard...it is just hard to say goodbye to that little piece of my history, of my identity. I became a wife, a mother, but I was single adult me for longer than I have been either of those things.
The next day my best friend asked me if I was feeling better, and I was, I am. I am still sad, but not crying about it sad. I would describe the feeling as wistful. I am not sure what we will be doing with my car. I still have a month or so to make peace with letting go before the new car arrives. I just know that it will be a bittersweet day when it happens.