Thursday, June 2, 2016

So Long, Brando

I loved my Miata.

It was little, sporty, quick, and an obvious declaration that it was just me and Charlie against the world. So in 2007 when we found out we were expecting Hollie, the first thing that had to go was the Miata. It was no longer just us.

Most newly-pregnant families will recognize that alien feeling of knowing someone else is going to show up and be around for a while. Those of us who’ve been parents for a while might forget what it felt like to be “expecting.”

It felt miserable.

I put off selling the Miata for four months after we found out. Denial, certainly.

Charlie even sent me pictures of Miatas that came to Discount Tire with baby seats in the front seat. As much as we knew expansion was upon us, the confines of our duality were very hard to break.

Enter Brando. The 2008 Honda CRV had a stubborn under bite look to it. I liked the leather seats, the sunroof, and the gas mileage. I hated the mini-van feel of the arm rests, the windshield, and the tailgate.

Even so, Brando was a good car. 

We called him Marlon Brando as a nod to the underbite and he took Hollie and me over 180,000 miles. Our most recent road trip was to Florida and try as he might, Brando couldn’t get the A/C to work more than 30% of the time.

So it was time. The guy at Carmax said, “This is a good car. Why are you selling?”

I took a long look at Brando — 180,000 miles to Clemson for ball games, to Northern Virginia to visit family, to Florence to see my Nana every week until she died. The Clemson Love sticker with the tiger paw “o” and the orange palmetto tree sticker in the back windshield. The fray on the passenger armrest, the middle console compartment that had been stuffed with crap for so long I hadn’t opened it in years.

Eight years with Brando.

“Call it a mid life crisis,” I said

I got Brando because I was having a baby. I don’t have a baby anymore. I have a kid. So we now have a Jeep.
Bragging about the weather in S.C. in April

When I polled my friends as to whether they thought I could pull off a Jeep Wrangler (“Am I too old?”) it spurred a discussion about car purchasing, selling, trading, etc.

My recently married friend who drives a cute Volkswagen convertible she inherited from her Nana mused she’d need to think about selling Patsy Jean (yes, we all name our cars). She said the car doesn’t fit her step son’s car seat and she’s planning to have another baby soon, so she needed to think about a change.

“No!” I shouted into the group text. “Do NOT mom up before you have to.”

Eight years with Brando. Eight years in which I felt like “Mom.” A sort of generic entity that described more my daily required caloric intake than it did my personality, ambition, or talents.

Hollie wept when we sold Brando. Turns out naming your car makes him part of the family and he was the only car she’d ever known.
A tearful goodbye to Brando in the driveway before school.

But not me. I remembered the Miata. I remembered who I was before Brando.

And now the Jeep. We’re calling her Brandi as a nod to our boy blue. She’s white and fun and topless and rough-and-tumble.

She makes me feel unfuckwithable. 

I’m not Miata Kasie anymore. Charlie and I are not a duality and never will be again. But Brandi has a back seat (albeit a chilly one with the top down). And Hollie’s pretty much recovered from the shock of loss and has decided she likes Brandi.

I can’t imagine she recognizes the significance of her. I didn’t recognize the significance of my own mother moving from Colony Park station wagon to Bronco II in 1990. 

Even so, I recognize it  in myself and it feels amazing. I’m still a mom. I’m just having more fun than other moms.

So long, Brando. You did what you were meant to do and now it’s time to move on.


  1. Congrats on the new Jeep. I'm sure you will all come to love it.

  2. You did right by Brando by making the trade while he still had some productive time left. Many happy miles with Brandi.


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