Red Bug

I had my car in for service recently and asked for a loaner hoping I’d be fortunate enough to get the bright red VW Beetle. I was in luck!

I got to zip around in it feeling sassy and sporty for twenty-four hours—not long enough. One afternoon I was going out and my husband suggested I take the dog who loves nothing more than to go on a ride. But one of the stipulations of the loaner is no pets. So I told my husband, “Nope. Can’t. No pets.”

“Take my car then,” he said.

“No way! I’ve got limited time with The Bug.”

“Oh.” I think he was a little disappointed his car didn’t live up.

I dragged my feet for as long as possible before picking up my car and handing the Beetle over.

“I have an idea,” I told my service advisor. “I’ll pay for the repairs then you keep my car and I’ll keep the Beetle.”

He laughed but he didn’t go for it. He went outside and pulled my car up to the curb. Admittedly it had new oil and brakes and tires and had been washed and vacuumed. But it didn’t live up.

You see, my car is a VW Routan. A mom mobile. A minivan. Although infinitely reliable and practical, reliable and practical is just a little depressing right now. When I hopped into the Bug, I had a new lease on life. I felt sparky, jaunty. I imagined myself skipping down the driveway in a sassy little skirt, kicking my heels up, throwing my head back and laughing, zipping around town with the windows down and Jimmy Buffett playing, not a care in the world.

I know. All this from a loaner car, right?

It made me a feel a little bit ungrateful. I mean, I have a perfectly nice car that meets all my needs. My practical needs. But at this moment, as mom of two teenagers and person with all the normal worries of a mom, wife and person, who wants practical? Practical suddenly feels dull and dark gray (the color of my car incidentally) and, well, boring.

This says to me—what? That life needs a little spicing up? Maybe it can’t be with a new bright red car but with what? What’s the metaphorical red VW Bug that I can add to my life? What will bring zip and shine and excitement? What will bring relief to the practical, the reasonable, the level-headed steady mom-ness that has been made so unappealing by this bright red car in my life?

My husband says I can get a new car when our 14 y/o graduates and I think wow! great. He’s graduating from 8th grade! “From high school,” he says. I pretend to be disappointed but I knew what he meant. And honestly, I know a new car isn’t what I want or need. But what DO I need?

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