The inevitable has happened. We got a van. This rite of passage came at a steep cost, however, as we had to trade in the Highlander. When Lynnette and I first started having serious thoughts about this “upgrade”, we knew we’d have to run it by Madison. She’s always been the nostalgic type and therefore resistant to change. I don’t think she ever said “We can’t get a van” outright, but she did make some notable points:
“A van’s not going to fit in the garage you know, so you guys are going to have to switch cars every morning.”
“But I think the Highlander is going to be sad.”
“If we get in a van, I’ll have to sit in the back again. That’s so far away from you guys. You guys won’t be able to hear me, so I’ll have to get a phone.”
I understand, I suppose. The Highlander was her first car, in a way. The Corolla and my old Protege existed before she did. Part of me is slightly insulted that she wasn’t nearly as broken up when we let go of Mr. 8 to get the Highlander. But whatever.
Lynnette’s parents came over on Monday night so we could make the swap and we brought Madison along for the purchase. When we walked into the showroom, Madison asked “Are we just going to leave the Highlander here tonight?” When Lynnette and I answered in the affirmative, Mad didn’t say anything. Lynnette and I were positive that Madison would cry at some point, that she’d get teary-eyed at the very least, but neither of those things happened. I think that any sadness she felt over the transaction was mitigated by the fact that she went to be nearly an hour later than her usual time. Kids.
While we waiting to finalize the paperwork, Madison and I walked out to the Highlander to get her booster seat. I asked her if she wanted to say goodbye one last time. “Okay,” she said. I unlocked the car and Mad popped in to retrieve her seat. “It was a good car, dad,” she said. “Yeah,” I said. I waited for Madison to be just out of earshot before I said my last words to the Highlander. “It’s nothing personal,” I said, tapping the hood. “The same thing happened to you that happened to me: life.” I walked away and escorted Mad back to the showroom.
It’s true. In a parallel universe where we had just one more kid, we probably stick with the Highlander. I knew a van was a distinct possibility before Lynnette gave birth, but I guess it was one of those things that I had to see in practice before I was completely convinced. There were three significant factors that pushed me toward the van at this time:
- I got tired of contorting my body in ridiculous ways just to get the twins (in their car seats into the car. Perhaps a leaner man could have made this work. But as for me, the traditional doors made loading and unloading super-irksome in narrow parking stalls.
- The stroller took up over half the space in the trunk of the Highlander. This made Costco runs into a mini-Tetris game which became increasingly more tedious.
- Because of #1 and #2, it became obvious that we’d have to get a van eventually. I reasoned that if this was true, and the payments were going to overlap with their preschool tuition anyway, we might as well get started with the payments.
So this is where we are now. It looks like I will be driving the Corolla until 2022 at least. What kind of vehicle does a 42-year old man purchase? I guess we’ll find out. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there, I suppose. Thank you, Highlander, for being a superb family vehicle. I am sure all three of us will cry the next time we see you on the road.