Life as We Knew It, Part 2

Even when you know something is going to happen and you’ve had plenty of time to prepare, the blow is not always lessened.

This is the second part of the a three-post series. Three different events, one after the other, that have changed life as we knew it. Read the first post.

It’s been over 18 months that we’ve known this was coming, almost as long as our sweet little Pipsqueak has been born. The events of this past weekend weren’t something we were unprepared for, but it certainly wasn’t something we would have chosen, either.

Five years ago we returned to Florida from Dublin (how we’ve made it 5 years in Florida I don’t know, but that’s a post for another day!) On July 1, after a horrendous 24 hour journey we arrived home (to my parents’ house) in the wee hours of the morning with two very tired little girls. After as much sleep as we could manage and a little breakfast, our first order of business was at the car dealership.

When we’d moved to Dublin 2 1/2 years prior, we sold hubby’s car. It was older, the miles were getting high and we decided it wasn’t worth storing while overseas. We had been back to visit prior to moving home in order to find a house and take care of other relocating tasks.

While in Dublin we didn’t own a car, instead opting to rent a car whenever we needed it. We had started to notice that nearly all the cars we rented were diesel engines and most people we knew also drove diesels so we began researching diesel cars for when we returned home.

That day in July, we drove off the lot with a brand new VW Passat, the official start to our current Florida journey. Before we had a home of our own. Before Honeybun started school. Before we had a son, let alone two, we had that car.

That car became almost like a beloved family member. It is where we surprised the girls with their first trip to Disney World. It’s where Doodle took his first ride to the pediatrician at a little over 24 hours old. It took us all over Florida and up to Atlanta (where Doodle and I had one of our biggest adventures to date!). It brought Doodle home with stitches after he busted his lip. It took hubby to work each morning and brought him safely back to us each night.

It was only a car, yet somehow more than that. It was hubby’s first ever new car purchase, a major indicator for him of his hard work, success and having “made it.” When the news broke in September 2015 of the VW diesel scandal, we immediately knew it would affect us. What we didn’t know at the time was how deeply it would affect us.

When given the choice between getting the car “fixed” or selling it back, hubby immediately decided we’d sell it back. I suggested considering the fix but he was adamant we needed to sell it back. And this weekend we did just that.

We walked into that same dealership where our journey began almost 5 years ago, this time walking out without our former family car.  Before we left, I sat in a quiet corner drinking a free coffee, my eyes welling with tears. Hubby gave me his sad puppy eyes and I said “I’m sorry, I’m unreasonably upset about this.”

And it’s not just because we walked away from our memories but because I loved that car. I loved everything about it and it was the first sedan I ever enjoyed driving (in high school, my parents owned a Mazda 626 and a Isuzu Rodeo…I picked the Rodeo every time!). I loved watching the “miles to empty” go up and up and up as I drove down the highway and how we could get well over 600 miles to a single tank of gas. I loved how comfy and roomy it was for our growing family and how the trunk was spacious enough for all our stuff. And even after outgrowing it with our family of 6, we still drove it whenever possible.

What hurts me the most about the entire situation, though, is that we weren’t really given a choice. It wasn’t our decision to get rid of the car and move on. I feel duped. I feel tricked. I feel swindled.

All the research we did on cars and diesel before moving back was for nothing. All of it was a lie. We bought into the “dream” that was actually a nightmare. We thought we were making a good choice and it turns out we were unknowingly part of the problem. All the things we loved about that car are ultimately what led to having to give it up.

Given the choice, I never would have given that car back. And while, yes, we could have had it fixed, it would have greatly affected the performance of the car and stolen some of our beloved trunk space. It just wasn’t the best solution to the problem for us and while I can logically see that, my heart doesn’t understand yet.

We’d known for a while that this day was coming. It was only a car, but for our family, it was so much more.

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