Matt’s parents bought him a car while he was in college. It was the car he’d always wanted: a 2004 Ford Taurus (though the dream car was silver).
Naturally, this was the car we kept and moved to Iowa with for his PhD.
And kept when we moved to Arkansas for his post-doc.
And was the only car we had–and I’m so grateful.
Suck It Up
It was a tremendous blessing to have a gifted car at the beginning of our marriage, especially given the economy at the time.
When we first moved to Iowa, I drove Matt to work and picked him up each day. This got difficult a couple months later when I got a job, but we managed. Once that first baby was born…we had to rethink things. She napped like a champ and neither of us was going to wake a sleeping baby.
Matt didn’t want me to be stranded in our tiny basement apartment all day without a vehicle, but he didn’t want to take the bus.
So what did he do? He took the bus anyway because he’s a grownup.
Some people might have gotten a second car, but we simply couldn’t afford a car payment, insurance, gas, maintenance, and downtown parking on one tiny stipend. Repairs for the Taurus were enough to send us to our knees in prayer.
Some people might have insisted on waking the baby, but we didn’t, and I’m glad. We had smooth, sweet days that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
So, Matt did the logical, servant-leader, sacrificial thing and took the stupid bus. And he actually (mostly) liked it.
Make It Work
When it was time to move to Arkansas, we chose our apartment based on price and location so that Matt could bike or walk to work. Again, more sacrifice for the hubster for the family. We buy him nice shoes because they’re his car. 😉
There are occasions where having just one car is inconvenient. If Matt has to set up chairs before church, we all go to church an hour early. If I need to go somewhere far away during the day alone, Matt has to take the time off (babysitting=expensive) and doesn’t have a car to take the kids anywhere.
But overall, our life is pretty home-centered. He goes to work, I work from home, the kids are homeschooled. We go out and about with the car during the day after lessons and we all pile in to go places on weekends.
A second car would be redundant, really, and that much more to maintain (see previous section re: payment, insurance…).
Watch That Standard of Living
Just as people asked if we were buying a house when he got promoted, people wonder when we’ll buy a second vehicle. Or upgrade to a van.
Truth be told, I want a van. I want a van, I want a van, I want a van, I want a van.
But we don’t need one. And I don’t want to put our money toward a plastic/metal box that would feel a little fancier getting us from point A to point B.
We did buy a different car. The Taurus was getting old, major repairs were looming, and I’d piled up a stack of freelance money. I cried as I drove it to the car dealership to hand over the keys.
We hopped in that car after graduation. Our wedding. To move to our first apartment. We brought home all three babies in that car and it survived the long trek to Arkansas–without air conditioning in July because that sucked too much power and made us nervous.
God has been faithful to us in transportation, and we have learned to be content. Not everybody could order their lives with just one car, but God knew that we needed that grace. And grace is exactly what it’s been.