I can still remember the day when we first met her: I was pregnant with my second child and we had decided we needed to upgrade our family car to a minivan. We had sold my beautiful Saturn Coup to one of my sisters, and I could not fit behind the wheel of Joe's Saturn anymore, simply because my belly had grown quite large and I felt like the size of Montana. So, we drove down to the nearest Dodge car lot and asked if they had any minivans, with just the basics, because we could not afford any extras, except maybe air conditioning. They had a red van, a little brighter than I really wanted, plus the fact that I had heard that red cars were stopped more often by the police than any other cars simply because of their hot shot colors. Yet, it was all they had that fit our price range and so we decided to go with it. Baby JJ colored and played at our feet as we went through the endless amount of paperwork, credit checks, etc, but we drove away that day owners of a minivan; a Caravan to be exact, and she was certainly special because she had my name personally inscribed on the back: Cara's Van. :) She only had 12,000 miles on her and she was a great car for our little family.
It was a great day when we finally paid her off about five years after we purchased the van. She saw us through two accidents, one minor and one pretty extensive, but the Lord protected us through twelve years of travel in that van. God has also certainly rebuked the devourer many times when it came to our vehicle.
Yet, as all good things must come to an end, so must the life of our sad looking red minivan. She has grown very tired and is quite worn out from lugging our family of seven, with two boys as big as adults now and still growing. Plus, often having an extra friend in tow with us adds to that weight and the other day she decided she'd had just about enough. I fear we have taken our last family trip in Old Red, and she sits in our driveway waiting for her final trip to pasture, where she will be able to rest at a "retirement home" with lots of other old cars, talking about their exciting lives and reminiscing about stories of little children dropping french fries all over their floors, spilling juice into the hidden cubbies in the back, getting Legos stuff into the nooks and crannies, and wiping greasy fingers all over their windows. A few stickers will remain, a few smudges and stains permanently set in the rug, plus some M&M's still stuck in the grooves under the wheels of the seat, but it will good for her to keep those fond memories alive so she can retire in peace.
So, it is with mixed emotions that I say goodbye to my Caravan-sad to have to end her faithful taxi service for our family, but excited to see what God may have for our future vehicle. Farewell, Old Red-I thank the Lord for providing us with such a trusty vehicle over the last 12 years. May you rest in peace.