It wasn't exactly a member of the family, but "The Beast," as our car is known, sure has been with us for a while. It is a 1998 Volvo, with roughly 133,000 miles on it. It was my first high-end car, and I felt pretty fancy driving around in it. Over time though it became the workhorse of our family vehicles.
My Daughter learned to drive on it, once managing to scrape all three panels against a stone wall on the driveway; another time backing into the basketball hoop. I also remember her hopping into the car on a frigid winter night, scraping the ice off the back windshield, and driving down to Annapolis to visit a long-ago boyfriend.
The Boy also learned to drive on this car, which despite the few scratchs, was actually built like a tank. If your kids have to drive something, this seemed like the vehicle. It was heavy and clunky and over the years, not exactly responsive- you really had to drive that car. The Beast acquired its name when The Boy brought it up to college.
It was a good car. I can't ever remember it breaking down, though it did have an engine light that went off with abandon, and over the years there were a few system failures - among the things that no longer work are the air conditioning and the radio. Some things you let go, some things you fix. But when The Beast started leaking gas out of the floor boards, we knew it was time to let it out to pasture. There's a point of diminishing returns on maintaining a car, and we had hit it.
Today The Beast will be towed away. I'm such a sentimental fool I took pictures of it. If you saw close-ups, you'd see elements of history of the car's life - high school parking passes from 2002, college parking passes, high school soccer bumper stickers, New York Ranger decals, Obama campaign stickers.
OK - enough. Let's just say I have a little trouble letting go...