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It was our one-month wedding anniversary the day that I wrecked my Chevy Malibu. I was about to turn right onto a busier street when I saw a pickup coming fast. I panicked and pressed the gas instead of the brake. Bam.
I hadn’t had the car for long. My parents had bought it for me within the last year or so. Just like that it was wrecked.
Three days later we woke up and started fighting. About what, I have no recollection. We made up over a mid-morning movie, License to Wed. When it was over, he looked at me and said, “Go get dressed, we are going for a drive.”
He wouldn’t tell me where we were going. But about an hour into the trip south from Fort Hood, about the time we passed Austin, I knew that San Antonio was probably our final destination.
We toured the Alamo, moseyed along the riverwalk taking pictures, and had a dinner that included a romantic serenade. I loved it.
We started heading back, but the strain of the day and lateness of the hour – not to mention Texas highway traffic – had him beat. Frustrated, he pulled off and we booked ourselves into an awful cheap hotel with nothing but the clothes on our backs. I put my contacts in water in Dixie cups so I could attempt to get them into my eyes the next morning (talk about ow).
The next morning we woke up, hit Starbucks for breakfast, and found ourselves at Carmax of Austin…because, why not?
Just a few hours later we had signed the papers on a 2009 Honda Accord.
The Accord has served us well. Eight years, two cross-country moves, and well over 100,000 miles later, she is still our constant.
I used to spend hours sitting in the Texas heat in random parking lots scattered around Fort Hood, waiting to meet Russ for lunch or a break when plans were altered by the Army’s “hurry up and wait” mantra. When, “I’m almost done, I’ll be out in just a minute,” turned into an hour or longer, and I passed the time flipping through the country music stations and playing Soduku puzzles – sometimes sneaking away to a Shopette for beef jerky and soda. It’s not like I had much better to do anyway.
This was the car that was my travel companion during solo trips while he was deployed. There was also that time when I left the house at 4AM and spend well-over-85 up to Dallas to pick up my husband on a 6:45AM flight home from Afghanistan that didn’t end up arriving until 9:30AM, blasting the Mamma Mia soundtrack and Carrie Underwood, trying not to cry when Just a Dream happened to be the song I landed on when I pulled into the DFW parking garage.
Then there were fun moments, day trips to state parks and then, of course, this:
Random can’t-get-enough-of-this-every-day-love moments when it was still just the two of us trying to make a new marriage work against the strains of Army life:
She drove us from Texas to Kentucky, loaded to the hilt with all of the household goods we could carry and a bird cage that ended up tipping over somewhere around Saint Louis. That was fun.
Then she kept safe and silent witness as our story unfolded and two became three:
Then he was gone to war again, and I found myself stranded for 3 hours (NOT MOVING) on an icy highway with a 3 month old just a week later as I travelled home from visiting my family in Illinois. That was also fun.
Our son grew, and so did our love. Through deployments and reintegrations and fighting to make things work again, she was there.
There were 15,000 trips through the Starbucks drive-thru before church and many many front seat kissy selfies. (It’s what we do…)
Then we blinked and this happened:
And before we knew it, Big Brother was on his knees praying for a Little Brother and we were bringing home yet another little bundle in the Accord.
Which brings us to now – that bittersweet moment when you realize your beloved Accord (affectionately and simply named “Mommy Car”) simply isn’t cutting it with the two kids and your husband buys you a minivan (promptly named “Mayonnaise”).
With the Accord, we started to build our life together. Now, we are moving on to the newest chapter. The 8th year of marriage, the new baby, the minivan stage of life.
Because ours is a minivan kind of love. The kind that commits, once for all, no matter what.
I sat there in the dealer’s office and Alli asked, “You wouldn’t, by chance, know his driver’s license number?” and I pulled out my phone with that information I had saved just a week earlier when we were doing taxes. Boom! He comments how it seems like we are a good fit for each other.
“Yes. We are. We’ve had lots of bumps, but we have worked hard to make it work.”
“Bumps in marriage,” he says, “they are kind of like speed bumps. It’s okay, as long as you are in the same car going the same direction.”
I nod and smile, but it isn’t until later that I realize the profundity of his words.
I hope that in another 8-years-and-100,000-miles we will look back and wonder just as we are now, that we are still in the same car going in the same direction. I hope we make some stellar memories in this van. I hope that as the boys grow long and lanky, our minivan kind of love continues to grow deeper and stronger. Because we are worth it.