Saying goodbye is never an easy thing. But she never said that she’d stay forever. I’m paraphrasing Taylor Dayne, of course. I have to borrow the words because I just can’t find my own to express how I feel about losing Stella. Except that I didn’t exactly lose her so much as give her away. Well, I didn’t give her away. I got money for her. Getting a discount is the same as getting money, right? Okay, stop looking at me like that. You can’t make me feel any worse than Julia did when she pulled at her clothing and screamed, “Stella! Stella! NOOOOOOO!” outside the car dealership where we traded her in.

“It’s okay, Julia. Vehicles aren’t meant to last forever.” I tried to sound casual, but the truth is, deep inside, I was pulling at my clothing and screaming, too. I mean, it was Stella we were giving up. Stella! She’s been under my butt for the large part of four years. We’ve had ups and downs. And ups and downs. Mostly because she had a broken spring and that makes the ride pretty bumpy. It probably had a lot to do with being under my butt. Because it’s large. And probably capable of breaking a spring and forcing a strut through the frame. (Have I told you my fat pants are once again my regular pants?) Oh, what that vehicle endured for me! Stella!

Julia sniffed, “Maybe another family will get her.”

“Sure…yeah. Parts of her, I’m sure.”

“But no one will ever love her like we did.”

“That’s true, honey. But now, we have a new van! Look! She’s got back doors on BOTH sides. And hey! All the speakers work. Wanna listen to our ‘Aweome 80s’ cassette? Oh! Jules! Automatic windows and locks! Want to press that button? Go ahead! Press the button!”

“I’ll never press that button. I’ll never like this van. EVER.”

So she said. But three rides later, she’d discovered she had her very own light and adjustable vent above her seat and soon it was, “Stella…who?”

Julia was even the one to name her, which was decided via a random draw of more than eight names submitted by the family which included Eva, Delisa, Snowball (seriously, Dave?) and Courtney. And the winner was….Vanessa.


Say hi to her. She’s cute. Isn’t she cute?

Now, she’s not new. Obviously. But she’s new to us. And while she may be the same year that Stella was, it’s clear that Stella was basic. Because Vanessa? Vanessa has extras. Like a super-cool storage net between the front seats. And tinted windows. Also, flip down mirrors WITH LIGHTS! And you know how sometimes the sun gets in your eyes and you’re like, “God, I wish his visor was just an inch or two longer?” Well, Vanessa has this little extend-o piece that grants that wish. She’s pretty amazing. Birds drop dead at the sight of her! Or, rather, they fly right into her. It happened during the test drive and again my first time using her to take Julia to school. My mom said, “Maybe it’s an omen.”

“Nah, it just means she’s awesome.”