Today, a certain eldest child who shall remain anonymous hit another car. With my new van. That we bought three weeks ago.
He is alright. No one was injured. My van and the parked car he hit were not so fortunate.
It's a good lesson, right? I don't know. Maybe. Too soon to tell.
My car breaks again the day after Christmas. Keeps dying, burning through oil and shutting off abruptly while driving down the road. No one knows why. Since we purchased it --nearly brand new-- almost 4 years ago, it has cost us more than $3000 in repairs.
The list goes on and on. The stress, too, goes on and on. When my Suburban decided to shut down while Kyle was on his way to pick up Killian, Will and I at the airport (quick trip to FL to see about Killian transferring next year! See? It's not all bad!), we decided we needed to get a new car and fast.
We spent the following day discussing our options for a new family car. While we LOVED our first Suburban, it's replacement had been riddled with issues from Day 1 and we didn't want to go that route. Also, since Will was born 2 years ago, we didn't have enough seats for all 9 of us, so any time we all had to go somewhere together, we drove 2 cars. The very last thing we wanted to do was get "one of those awful church vans" and make all those stereotypes of big families a reality! Gasp!
You see where I'm going with this, right?
We ended up going to look at a 12-passenger van that was only a few months old and had very little miles. You never saw two grumpier people.
I had truly not ever thought of myself as defined by my possessions, but, holy cow.... I did not want to be the lady with all those kids driving the big white van. Kyle didn't want to be married to her, either.
I started to feel dizzy and sad. I ran to the dealership bathroom and began texting friends for moral support. I had to do some real soul-searching, real fast.
Quick prayers. Quick conversation with Kyle. Deep breaths.
We ran all the numbers, negotiated a killer deal on the Suburban's trade-in value (in fact, it was worth more than the newer van!) and found out we would be saving $200 a month on our car payment. That was too much for both of us. The promise of financial relief suddenly made that big old van look very nice.
And it is nice.
Kyle had them install DVD players and a remote start. The kids enjoy all the extra room. The older kids, who are now adult-size, really like that they can sit in any seat and have comfortable leg room. And, we have promised them a fun road trip in the near future.
All of this to say that I needed to take serious stock of who I was and where I was in my life. I never would have done it unless I was really forced into it. It was necessary. I also had to make a choice. One that I make every day, only not so consciously. I had to choose what was best for my family over what I wanted. Normally, that's not a problem. But, when it came in the form of the place I spend a lot of time in and in which "the world" sees me, I balked. Big time.
I am really hoping that God sees what I've learned here and stops sending me these lessons wrapped in such dramatic packaging, though. (You hear that, Lord?)
Also, the new van needs a new door now; maybe you could make that happen as painlessly as possible, dear Jesus?