Well, it's not new. It's three years old, but the reason it's a big deal in my family is we're not known for buying cars on a frequent basis. On average, I'd guess Americans buy/lease a new car every three years. That average probably goes down to every one-to-two years if the car is used and older than, say, three years. My husband and I, in 25 years of premarital and connubial bliss, have purchased a TOTAL of four cars, only ONE of which was brand new. Additionally, the only brand new car I have ever purchased was just after my college graduation, so you can see that a car purchase is a fairly rare occurrence in this family.
My "new" car is three years old and had only 14k miles on it when purchased. It was a lease turn-in by a retired couple, so it was immaculate and passed the certified used inspection with very high marks (save for needing new tires).
Given that I drove my previous car for ten years (it was a one-year old car when I purchased it), my kids (now ages 18 and 14) grew up in the car.
That's a lot of living, don't you think?
I am a pretty sentimental person, but even I had to admit I was abnormally attached to a minivan that was prone to breaking down every three months in the past year. I couldn't help but remember all of the milestones and memories that were locked up in that vehicle.
- My son began kindergarten just months after I bought that van.
- My son spilled a vanilla milkshake in it just a few weeks after we bought it; we were on our way out-of-town for a family vacation and were only two miles from home.
- My great-niece puked in it just months after we purchased it.
- Each of my children has eaten countless meals and completed hundreds of homework assignments by the dome light of the van, waiting for the other sibling to complete dance class, basketball practice, or martial arts training. These happened when my husband worked out-of-town (which happened several times in the past ten years), and I was having to drive back and forth between kids' activities.
- We've driven from here to Southern California and back for vacation once each year for the past ten years.
- My children have ridden home from two 8th grade graduations, and three black belt graduations in that car.
- My family has brought me home from far too many trips to the hospital in that car.
- My daughter learned to drive in that car.
The list could go on indefinitely. I'm mindful of the fact that it was just a car, a hunk of metal with moving parts. The real treasure was what happened as result of it: a family lived a life of laughter and love, and THAT is what I will keep in my heart.