Saturday, August 27, 2016

Growing up: Moments of truth in crappy old cars.

Greetings readers, (if indeed any of you are still out there)
It was really quite by accident that I took almost an entire year off of blogging. I really meant to get back to it, but because of my last post, I experienced a crisis of authenticity:

I decided I needed to do a little more practicing what I was preaching, and get myself together a little more. Organizing takes time. Also, we were pregnant with our fourth, and I was experiencing a difficult bout of post-natal depression.  I needed to, well, NOT whine on the internet about how horrible I felt life was, despite being blessed with another baby. Then, come November, we welcomed Martin into the world and all became clearer and brighter again. I love the newborn stage, and wanted to blog my birth story, my insights into the world of baby toes and drool and coos and giggles and diapers, but I let myself just be caught up in it, and enjoyed all of the newborn and small baby moments. Life moved along, but I always had imaginary blog posts going throughout.

I turned 30 in May. I love saying I'm 30 - it feels so comfortable. I'm finally comfortable in my own skin, which is a funny concept because I'm 60 or so pounds overweight, I have four little people with me almost every time I enter the public eye, and I drive a mini-van. I have finally shed that sense of longing that stems from vanity. I can laugh at and with myself now, and just enjoy being, instead of looking over my shoulder, or through dark lenses to see who is looking. I don't know if this has to do with being 30, but I like to think age helps you realize you're okay in the world.

Case and point: I  took a visit the other day to my hometown with Joseph, and ended up driving around in his parents' old Plymouth Voyager, which has peeling paint, a grey hood  and front right panel, to contrast the burgundy that covers the rest of it.  My kids told me that this is what the grandparents refer to as "the garbage van," because that is what they use to haul their trash into town. I wish I had a picture. I was just grateful I had a way to go to town and visit while my husband worked further away with the only vehicle we brought.

I drove past the cemetery where my Dad is buried, and then it hit me:
The entire reason I was unwilling to obtain my learner's permit at 14 years old, is because my parents drove a 1976 Colony Park station wagon affectionately named by one friend, "the shaggin' wagon" (oh the indignity). I was petrified to be seen driving it. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, even if it meant my mode of transport was my own two legs and my bike. I never voiced this to my parents, but I'm sure they figured it out. I just stood by and watched as my friends all learned to drive and I did not. My father took care of this car, you see, and he loved it. He sang a song about it at my parent's 25th Anniversary party.

As I drove past the cemetery, I took stock of "the garbage van" which runs fine, but the doors stick, it has no rearview mirror, the shifter is a little wonky, and only one side mirror adjusts. Also, it has curtains (ahem. shaggin' wagon. ahem)  "Well, would you look at that..." I imagined my Dad chuckle as I drove down those very streets where that old car would've driven, and I began to laugh. That Colony Park, lovingly cared for by my Dad, didn't look so bad now...

I could practically hear my dear Dad laughing with me as I drove into town, down main street - a pivotal landmark of my youth - in this old, two-coloured van with peeling paint and curtains. People were looking. I laughed a hearty, long, belly laugh and tears were rolling down my face. My kids were concerned!

"Mom!" Patrick said, "You might not want to drive if you're laughing so hard!"
"Mom, stop!" Carter cried, "Before we crash!"
Zachary just giggled. Martin, my 9-month-old let out a "hahaha!" along with me.

I continued to laugh until my sides hurt, laughing at myself 16 years ago, laughing at the look I imagined might be on my Dad's face as I drove through town with people looking, and laughing for the pure joy of being free from that care, now that I simply needed to get to a friend's in the vehicle available to me. I was still laughing as I pulled into her driveway.

I laughed with my friend over coffee, unashamed to share my little epiphany, and thankful that I was able to get there.

Much like the feeling you get when you're done laughing - that exhaustion combined with giddiness and mirth, I feel like I've made a little step in my life toward being a little bit better than before.

1 comment:

  1. It was a great post. I think most of us have those times in our lives where pride gets the best of us. I hope you write more I enjoy your writing and your humor. Amy--- from a small town in Oregon


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