We bought a new car recently, which is the hugest blessing. The stories I could tell about why we needed this new car are enough to write an entirely new post, but we will settle for the abridged version: we now have two whole rear view mirrors (Hallelujah and amen!) and my prayer every time I get in the new car has changed to “Thank you so much, God, for blessing us with a reliable car!” instead of, “Lord, PLEASE keep this car from blowing up in a dramatic fashion that matches the noises coming from the engine.”
Anyway, the salesman we worked with was a nice young man who is completely happy with the status of being unmarried and not at all interested in being a parent. (Side note: Does it officially make me old that I used the term “young man” without catching myself until rereading the sentence? I think he said he was 26. Where has my life gone?) We talked with him quite a bit during several visits to the dealership to find the right vehicle, and on the second-to-the-last visit, we decided to be brave and bring the kids with us. Because car shopping an hour before nap time with an almost 2-year-old and a 5-year-old would obviously go well…especially if you remember halfway there that you forgot your daughter’s pacifier.
It just happened that this brave trip was not a bust because we found our car! By we, I mean my husband and the salesman. Meanwhile, I found several creative ways to convince Daisy that the fish in the fish tank were not going to make an escape and attack her while simultaneously reminding Dash that, while he was physically capable, he wasn’t actually allowed to help himself to the popcorn in the popcorn machine. Also, I did not have any change for the vending machine and no matter how many times the two of them said that the cookies and candy inside looked yummy, they wouldn’t be getting any today. At the point that nap time was officially upon us, my husband returned from the test drive and asked me if I was ready to go give it a spin. Daisy replied for me by throwing herself down on the front steps of the dealership so she could properly sob uncontrollably about not having her own water bottle. A girl is entitled to feel deeply about things.
Fast forward to later that afternoon when we had secured a babysitter and were back at the dealership to get the car. I was finally taking that test drive and we chatted with our salesman friend while we drove. He admitted that the very thought of having kids terrified him. I’m sure that observing the angelic behavior of my own kids earlier that day did not in any way solidify this fear. I chuckled inside as I contemplated how on earth I could convince this guy that it’s a worthwhile venture. I mean, until you’ve actually found yourself responsible for the health, well-being, education, nutrition, and discipline of a child, it’s tough to understand that the crazy that consumes your life is truly worth it. That it balances out with the incomparable love that you feel for your child.
The first moments after Dash was born and my parents were getting to love on him for the first time, my dad said, “Your life just changed forever.” I wasn’t prepared for the terror that I felt at that reality. How on earth had I not considered the depth of that fact until that instant when I realized he was so right? My life would never, ever be the same, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Then Dad finished his thought, probably because he noticed how wide-eyed and panicked I was looking, “But it is so worth it.”
These are all of the things that were going through my mind while I was test driving a car with a guy who laid it all out there to us by saying, “I’m far from ready to take on being a father.” I smiled and said no one is ever 100% ready, but when it’s the right time, whether you think it is or not, it’s one of the most fulfilling gifts you could ever get in life. I have no idea if he believed us or not, but I’m pretty sure my husband and I both drove home in our new car with not only a new plan for how to minimize the amount of kid-inflicted scuff marks on our new seats but also an extra smile or two at how blessed we are with the little feet and hands that will “accidentally forget” and make their marks on the car just like they do in our hearts.