"I often wonder how you can find time for what you do, in addition to the care of the house; and how good Mrs. West could have written such books and collected so many hard works, with all her family cares, is still more a matter of astonishment. Composition seems to me impossible with a head full of joints of mutton and doses of rhubarb."~Jane Austen in a letter to her sister Cassandra, 1816

Friday, September 30, 2011

Song of the Subaru

Hubby and I gave up our jaunty Subaru Forester in August and it still smarts. When we left it on the driveway at Carmax, we left behind a younger version of ourselves. A version that was sporty and environment-friendly. A version that refused to look beyond its own needs and desires.

We knew we had ignored our wiser subconscious when we bought the car three years ago. Then expecting our second child, we knew we eventually wanted a third, and, even if we somehow could shoehorn three carseats across its back seat (which we did when the time came), we knew there would be no further room for anyone besides our family.

But we bought the car anyway. It would get great mileage. We found it in a great bright blue. Our nephew got a Forester the same year for use during the cold winter months at his Midwestern college. I even put my college alumni license-plate frame proudly up on our new Subi. Now, two babies later, we know we never can return to our Subi mindset. Every decision that we now make has to secure the best outcomes for all parties, least among which are mama and dada.

In defense of our decision to buy our Subaru, we didn’t know when our third child would come. We didn’t know then, as we do now, how important carpooling would be to my ability to cope with the endless commitments of mothering. It’s time for our family to start building connections outward from our nested center now. Our new minivan is a crucial survival tool. For the kids and hubby but, most of all, for me.

So many little joys and sorrows were lodged between the Subaru’s two bumpers. It was the car we drove to the hospital when I was in slow afternoon labor with Toddler and then lurching night-time labor with Baby. Girlie contemplated the first boy to have a crush on her during one drive home from preschool in it. She was delighted.

How many hours did I spend in that car, circling between our house, the preschool, the library, and all the parks in town? How many minutes of sleep did the kids log in it, with their strawberry-tinted heads nodding and their thumbs hanging limply from their lips? How many oaths did I utter in it? How many prayers?

Before we finally pulled the trigger on the deal to buy our new minivan (it’s white) hubby begrudgingly voiced what we both probably had been thinking for weeks.

“It’s just a car,” he said, wincing. Even he had come around to a religious perspective on giving up the Subaru. We know we shouldn’t be attached to things.

But we were.

Really, it’s our former selves that we didn’t want to give up. With deep breaths we are facing this new life, this adulthood, every morning.

Oftentimes we face it with a prayer.