This summer brought another goodbye to our family. Actually, it hasn’t been a total goodbye – there is a 2% chance for it coming back to life. But, with odds like that, the goodbye seems rather permanent.
For the record, I realize that there may be those reading this who just won’t get it. You won’t relate to how one could get emotionally attached to a “thing”. A pet, sure. A person, of course. But being upset about a thing, in this case a minivan, you may think is ridiculous. If that’s you, then perhaps you’ll read on and allow my words and photos show you how it can happen. If you’re the type that knows you’ll think I am crazy at the end of this entry, well then perhaps clicking over to another site or going outside to mow the lawn before the rain comes would be a better use of your time.
For those who can relate, thank you for your understanding and compassion. Plus, I heard it might snow on Sunday morning, so the grass will quit growing soon and not mowing because you read my blog will turn out OK.
Let me introduce you to Oddy.
He (yes, it was always a “he”) has been a part of our family since the month after Madeline was born.
Oddy came into our lives when we realized that having kids meant having lots and lots of gear. I grew up with a family that required a full-sized Ford Econoline van to fit us all, so a minivan wasn’t a huge leap for me. We knew we wanted an Odyssey from the start – nice styling, good fuel economy, and good track record for Honda when it came to engines and resale.
That last fact became more moot as time went on.
Oddy became like a trusted friend to me. Big Ohio lake effect snow storm coming? That’s OK, Oddy will keep us safe.
Those wheels of his have taken us around the corner as well as around the country. All of it without the slightest bit of worry. If they could talk, I can imagine the stories they would tell…
Remember bringing Zoe home from the hospital?
How about when Maddie was being dropped off on her first day of preschool?
Zoe seemed happy on that day.
But, apparently, not nearly as happy as I was…
We were constantly going on adventures with Oddy.
And it seemed like we laughed more than anything while out on drives.
And helped us in our new beginning. He saw Zoe head off to preschool and then graduate.
In fact, Oddy wore a token of those days for the last 3 1/2 years – a corsage Zoe made for the Mother’s Day Tea.
He always seemed up for the trip. Like when our family traveled with my parents on our trip out west to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder houses. Here we are at the Mississippi River.
Oddy even helped us thaw out when we headed to DC in January to explore the city (although it became fairly clear that we weren’t from around those parts after the snow melted and Oddy’s exterior was covered in road salt residue.)
Through the years, Oddy was there. A constant for the girls (and I) when other things maybe didn’t seem so constant. So when the end came – in the form of a transmission breakdown – it was a big blow to us all.
The van was working great until one evening. We took it into a shop early the next morning where we got the grim prognosis. The transmission died on the way home from the auto shop. We limped the 15 miles home at under 20 mph, but Oddy got us safely back one last time.
Neither of the girls wanted to get out after that last van ride.
It was as if stepping outside of Oddy that day was going to break the spell of magic that had surrounded us for the last 10 years. We spent the next hour+ talking about the little things we loved about him. Like the DVD player, which kept the girls occupied on those long car rides. We laughed that you could see how worn out the DVD and Radio buttons were on the player.
We remembered the moment we came out from the grocery store (a few days before Christmas) to find that someone had completely dented the driver’s door and didn’t leave a note. Merry Christmas. We never had it fixed, mainly because as a single Mom at the time, I chose to save the money to use on important stuff.
We kept the “Bluebird of Happiness” hanging around in the van, to keep the positive energy going (and help ward off any little girl or momma crankiness). It worked fairly well…
As the girls sat in the van that day, I marveled at how big they had become since those early days with Oddy. Those feet, which had been so tiny were now huge.
I realized that the girls probably had dreams of the day that they would be the one to drive Oddy around. Dreams that now probably wouldn’t come true.
When the girls finally stepped out of Oddy, I had them pose for one last “family” portrait. You can see the sadness on Zoe’s face.
But, soon afterwards, there seemed to be genuine smiles there. One of our newer additions, Riley, seemed to know what they needed most and filled that hole in their hearts with his love.
Thanks, Riley. And thank you, Oddy, for 10+ years of adventures.