About a month ago, we said goodbye to Millie (well, her name is actually Millenium, named after the spaceship in Star Wars that Ashton was obsessed with when we got the car).
Millie served us well for 8 years but after nearly 150,000 miles, she was starting to have problems that were starting to be expensive. So we figured we'd better trade her in for something a bit newler while she still had some value.
We got Millie her when the twin were about 3 months old. We'd just sold our little house in San Jose, California for a great profit and were excited to be able to pay cash for something we never imagined we'd want - a mini van. The old SUV Jared brought into our marriage could seat 8 but getting kids in and out of carseats just didn't work in that thing (and we had SEVEN carseats!). After shopping around for a while, we realized a mini van was by far the most practical and comfortable choice for our family and settled on a white Toyota Sienna.
When we first got her, Millie felt very grand to me. I'd grown up with old beater cars that broke down all the time and the SUV was bumpy and hard to maneouver. Millie was quiet and smooth and easy. The doors opened and closed at the click of a button. There was tons of cargo space in the back. Life with Millie was good.
We drove that car to California many times and all up and down the west coast. We drove her to Mexico one time. Millie took us on tons of long trips to visit family all over the place. Then last summer, in one final epic adventure, Millie took us over 5000 miles across the US and back on our epic road trip, serving as our home base for about 3 weeks. Plus she made thousands of trips to the school, the store, scouts, dance, you name it.
I have to admit I shed more than a few tears as I cleaned all our stuff out of Millie and then left her there at the dealership and took off in our very nice but soul-less and name-less new(er) van. I found tickets from events we loved, maps of hikes and cities we enjoyed, and a couple long-forgotten matchbox cars that reminded me of my little kids. I found old scratched DVD's and CD's that got us through many a long trip. I remembered all the audiobooks we listened to together and the great conversations we had and the many many games of "I Spy" and "20 Questions." I saw the marks the carseats left permanently on the seats and remembered all the times I buckled my babies into those carseats over the years. I unloaded the sweatshirts that have been so handy to keep in the back of the car and remembered all the times we grabbed the out of the back to enjoy a sunset on a beach in Mexico or a hike through the Redwoods or a nippy afternoon wandering through San Francisco. I found an extra bumper sticker from the Grand Teton Relay Jared and I did with a team of his family members - Millie was home-base for a 6 sweaty runners for two days and a night during that crazy fun race that we did for two years in a row.
Our new van is nice. It's simple and reliable. We went with a Honda this time and found a good one with low miles that was only three years old. We're still settling on a name. Gray Goose (it's a gray/silver color and isn't the prettiest car), or "Gigi" for short is the current favorite. And we're really grateful we were able to get a newer car before Millie really started to fail. Gigi will bring us just as many good memories, I'm sure. But I'll always have a very fond place in my heart for the car that was a central part of so much of our family life for so many years!