Old Car, New Story

When my husband, Rob, and I moved to Charlottesville in August of 2001, I bought a new car—a trusty Toyota Corolla.

One year later, we left the maternity unit with our first child–our daughter, Liana. We strapped her into her car seat and drove off on a new adventure with our greatest privilege–and responsibility.

Welcome home!

From the get-go, Liana seemed to have a mind of her own; she knew what she wanted.

Thinking…

As an older baby, she’d make noises while being held until we reached a certain destination. Rob and I joked that she liked us to carry her, not so much to be cuddled as to have a mode of transportation.

That way!

As for crawling and walking—this girl could not wait to go for it!

Freedom
More freedom

Liana continued along these lines, even riding a plane by herself at nine years old to visit her best friend who had moved away.

In Missouri, half a lifetime ago

Fast-forward several more years–she was eager to get her driver’s license. She reached that milestone this past fall and started to borrow—did you guess?–my Corolla.

Practicing driving on her 16th birthday

One month ago I bought a new car, and the Corolla is now Liana’s “new” car. It’s no longer fit for driving over mountains or long distances on the highway, but it’s still fine for local driving.

Yeah, it’s scratched and dented. It’s hit lots of potholes and bumps. It’s gone quite the distance. It’s not exactly a teenager’s aesthetic (or technological) dream, but she’s grateful.

Replacing the insignia that went missing years ago

That old Corolla—may it be as good to her as it’s been to me. I knew that I’d drive it for years. That’s what Rob and I do: we keep our cars. But I didn’t think I’d keep the Corolla for 18 years. Eighteen years of errands, carpools, and road trips.

On the way to North Carolina, back in the day before “real” devices
On the way to NYC with sister, Miya (left)

Eighteen years of graduations—from preschool, elementary, and middle school.

A graduation gift from her preschool teacher
5th Grade Graduation (and they’re still best friends!)
8th Grade Graduation

This coming spring, Liana is due to graduate from high school. I’m already feeling her impending departure. I’m very excited for her. And yet, I’ll miss her so much.

I often find myself thinking, “This is the last [fill in the blank].” I’m growing sentimental (even more than usual). Five for Fighting’s song, “100 Years” runs through my head: “The sun is getting high. We’re moving on.” I know, I know, but I can’t help it…

I live life, feeling both the loss and the gratitude. For me, each magnifies the other: more loss because of the gratitude; more gratitude because of the loss. But in the end, gratitude wins big time. We’re lucky that she’s able to live her life.

Can you spy the Corolla?
(Photo Credit: ReThreads)

For much of Liana’s childhood, it may have looked as though I were in the driver’s seat, but really, I’ve just been a guide.

In San Francisco to see Grandma
Pulling her share

I trust that Liana will continue to make good choices, to define success on her own terms, to live her best life. And I wish her all the luck in the world as she continues on her adventure, with greater privilege—and responsibility. I can’t wait to see where she takes herself.

On the way to NYC
On the way to VA

One thing’s for sure: This girl is going places.

And wherever she goes… may she always see the wonder in the world.

At Wrightsville Beach
On the Appalachian Trail

Until we meet again,

Amy

6 thoughts on “Old Car, New Story

  • July 11, 2019 at 3:05 pm
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    Oh man! I’m totally teary eyed! What a sweet tribute to a still faithful vehicle- but more so to your incredible daughter, Liana! I love seeing all these adorable photos and seeing her personality shining through even back then.
    You have hit the daughter jack pot with both of your girls. This senior year of Liana’s… well I get it, it’s going to be a spectrum of emotions for you and Rob. Exciting, but also all of the feels as a mom. You are helping me to take pause today and just enjoy these growing humans in my household. Hugs!

    Reply
    • July 12, 2019 at 2:02 am
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      Aww, thanks for all of that, Caroline! You do get it, probably more than I. I thought of Wes while writing this post. Talk about gratitude–we’re so lucky he’s able to live his best life. Yes, enjoy your beautiful kiddos! And thanks for showing up here–means a lot to me!

      Reply
  • July 18, 2019 at 3:08 pm
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    Oh, Amy, I am just in tears! What a beautifully written piece…every word so true, hitting too close to home for me! How lucky we are to have such wonderful these kids with all the magical memories and wonder to look forward to. It is because of good, kind, strong humans like Liana that I remain hopeful!! Our kids are certainly the vehicles to our utmost gratitude! Love to you and I hope to pass Liana at Albemarle a time or two next year:)

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    • July 18, 2019 at 8:57 pm
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      Well, Nikki, you have me teary-eyed now! What a beautiful comment; you have a way with words. You’re definitely a big part of Miya’s magical preschool memories. 🙂 How fun to be back in the same school community with you at the high school! We’ll see you there–it’s going to be great!

      Reply
  • July 19, 2019 at 3:56 pm
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    So beautiful. Happy and safe roads ahead!

    Reply

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