Tuesday, February 25, 2014

7 in 7: Day 2

(Alternate title: How Dying To Self Actually Killed Me)

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?


  1. I t-boned a car in a parking lot when I was in college. I am having flash backs to that moment every time I hear a crunchy car story.

    I can semi-relate to your van plight. I drove a little Scion xA after totaling aforementioned car and then when I got pregnant I realized little Scion would not fit even the mini-est of strollers so we opted for an Explorer. Explorer died a painful death by timing chain slippage 6 months after #2 came along. Then we were looking at cars and if by cars I mean mini vans GASP! and Suburbans. Minivans were SO much more friendly on the pocket so I was literally driven to the car dealership. Looked at the price tag on the Suburban. Looked at the price tag on the Odyssey. Two days later my husband drove home from work and handed my van keys and said here's your car, enjoy.

    I am a total fan of my minivan now but that initial shock was rough!

    1. Oh yes, we "graduated"
      from a minivan to our first Suburban and were so smug in our belief that we'd never be that uncool again.
      God is the author of humor, they say.....

  2. He always knows where its gonna hit you most, doesn't he? I can be good and selfless and detached, just so long as no one has to *see me* being those things. Go easy on Killian, I did that same thing to my parents' 15-passenger, twice. Once with a parked car, once with the side of our house. :)

  3. I side swiped a boulder one month after getting the Enclave last year... had to make a MAJOR and pricey repair. Not to mention driving directly into a parked car on my wedding day en route to my hair appointment!

  4. Welcome to the Airport Shuttle club! I was not happy about making the jump, either, but we travel so much (all family is 2-6 hours away) driving two cars would have been the biggest waste of money. Now that we have it, life is much easier. Except parking downtown. It's not a good vehicle for parking garages.

  5. Ahh. The move to the big van has been an experience already. Christine's comment about parking garages is right on. And car washes too. We were certainly cringing as we drove through the first time. And you are right - you never saw two less enthusiastic purchasers of a new car than we were.I honestly went there hoping we would hate the thing but all the extra seating and headroom certainly appealed to me.

  6. Òh, sister. Humiliation/dying to self is the only way I learn a damned thing, and God knows it. Hence: all the practice.

    Sorry about your accident. I hope it's fixed quickly and cheaply!

  7. Oh, I so identify with this.
    I remember feeling more than a little jealous, growing up, of all the families at our church that were big enough to warrant those big vans. Because of all the kids, not really because of the van, per se. And I also remember thinking that once the kids learned to drive that van, then they could drive ANYTHING.

  8. Now see....I drive one of those big ol white vans. and I love it (mine is 15)! Don't love the rear wheel drive always, but I do love that I can have all 7 kids, two friends and two dog crates in the thing. And a double stroller! If THAT isn't cool....I just don't know what is. I just don't. Throw in a sleeping bag for the floor and it becomes a jungle gym for rainy, muddy sports practices. Sigh. I love it. ;) We dream of jazzing it up with some really cool decals some day. To offset the white. I have yet to find someone to make me a giant sacred heart decal....working on it....