Thursday, March 4, 2010

Keep or Trade In

I want to get rid of our family Van. We have a 2004 Honda Odyssey van and don’t get me wrong it has been great to us, their isn’t a thing wrong with it and it runs perfect. Jen was the primary driver of the van.

I sold our 1997 Honda Accord in October of 2009 and bought a new Honda Pilot. I felt a little guilty about buying a new car, but I drove the Accord for 12 years…it was time. I wanted another car (Accord) but the girls said they wanted to “ride up high” so I purchased the Pilot. We all love the Pilot…every time we go somewhere I say lets take the van and the girls say no, we want to ride in the Pilot. Since October I have filled up the gas tank ONCE in the van. I have put maybe 200 miles on it since October.

So I want to trade it in for a car. When I told Abbie she was fine. When I told Allie she got really upset. The van was Mommy’s car, we should keep it. I mean she went on and on how she wanted to keep the van, it reminded her of Mommy, it’s very special to us, she wanted to keep the van until she could drive etc… I didn’t have the heart to tell her that No teenager wants to drive a van. She I’m in a little bit of a predicament – do I keep the van or trade it in for a car.

Here is why I want a car…my own internal reasoning. The Pilot has been awesome this winter. If their was ever a winter where a 4wd vehicle was needed it was this current winter here in the Burgh. The Pilot is awesome but doesn’t get great gas mileage. I want to car to drive in the summer months and the Pilot for the winter months. And No, I’m not talking about a Porsche or a BMW; I’m talking about either a Honda or an Acura (the luxury Honda).

So, I know I’m being very superficial about this. Times are tough and many people are out of work and can’t even afford the essentials and here I am whining about buying a car. So I start to second myself and tell myself to stop being so damn selfish. Then the other part of me says go and do something nice for yourself… and just buy it.

My biggest fear is that Allie resents the hell out of me for trading in “Mom’s van” and buying a car. So I’m torn between the guilt of making a frivolous purchase that would make me happy or hanging onto a vehicle, that no one will drive, just to make my youngest daughter happy. It sound silly, but this is what’s going through my head…keep or trade…that’s the big question at the moment.


  1. Wow - that is a tough one. Maybe if you take Allie with you to shop for cars, she will feel differently.

  2. Well - you could always rent a garage off-site and store the van so Allie can have that cool ride when she gets old enough to drive :-)

    Seriously though - I think this might be the perfect way to teach the
    girls that the van isn't the important part - the memories with Mom and the van are the important part...

    So - can you run questions like this past the Caring Place?

  3. I would keep the Odyssey van for now because it's such a strong link to her mother. As you know, she has many fond memories of the van and her mom together. If it were something else would you keep it? I think in time it will pass. Who cares what others think about driving a Honda Odyssey van? I think most people would kill for this vehicle. Keep it because it's an all around good decision. Where's your priority?

  4. Deanne,
    I think taking Allie with me to look at cars is a great idea.

    Good point – I could store the van or the car somewhere – I hadn’t considered that.

    Me driving the Van has never been an issue…I consider that a “Dad badge”…I’m the one that pushed to buy the van in the first place…and if you knew me you certainly wouldn’t question my priorities…but thanks for the comment...much appreciated.

  5. Tough one...
    Maybe this is somthing that needs just a little more time? It has been such a short time since they lost their mom. Maybe around the one year mark think about getting rid of it?
    I know nothing though. I am not in your position, I have not walked in your shoes. All I know is that I wish you strength and peace with all of these tough decisions you have to make. None are right or wrong. Just hard.

  6. First and foremost, your priorities are perfectly in-line. If guys out there could be half the father you are, the children of this world would be much better off.

    As for the van, here's my 2c worth...

    I like Deanne's idea of taking Allie with you to look at cars. You could discuss what Jen liked in new cars and ask her to help pick out a car that Mommy would like. I think it's important to help her understand while all things have sentimental value, certain things are extra special. Something like the van that was more of a necessity to Jen isn't typically something that is typically used as a sentimental keepsake.

    From experience, I know someone who keeps everything. When a relative or loved one passes on, she accepts whatever is offered simply for its "sentimental value." She tries to pass along items to her children, who used to graciously accept it, but now struggle with saying no thanks. She now literally has a garage full of items, large and small, that she refuses to get rid of that once belonged to aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, close friends, etc. Unfortunately these things all amount to "junk" now. Ironically, she does have a nice collection of smaller, "special" items that have sentimental value, and are presented and kept respectfully.

    I am not trying to say the van is junk, nor am I trying to say it shouldn't have sentimental value. It is important to allow your children to feel comfortable letting go of some things that while have a sentimental connection, may not be as special as others. It is the special items that we display, hold, stare at, kiss, and talk to.

    Is there something special in the van (or otherwise) that you can give each of the girls that is their personal connection to Jen?

    I agree with Jeff - the folks at TCP likely have the most "qualified" answer.

  7. WOW, that is a tough one. But, I would keep it..for now. There will be a time when you can start to sway Allie. Right now, she is telling you she is not ready to let go of that. Think of Jen's items. I don't know what you have sorted through, but I am sure there was a sweater or scarf or something that you will keep or kept, because it holds a you. Allie is young and needs time before she can let go of this. This holds a her.
    Maybe you can slowly approach the subject. Discuss the memories she has, make a booklet of memories from this car, take a picture to hang in her room...keep the memories but not the item. You may keep a scarf, but that can be folded in a drawer. A car, not so much. It is going to take time. She isn't ready though. Not ready to let go of her mommy's car. I understand that. They probably had a lot of fun together in that car. Singing songs, talking..whatever. Let her talk it out, write it down for her, whatever she needs and she may let go of it.

    You are so respectful of your girls. They are truly blessed.

  8. I agree with the two great ideas, first, maybe possibly keeping the van. How neat to have your daughters learn to drive it someday? That's what my dad taught me on, and it's a pretty cool memory. And Second, taking Allie to look at other cars, which may have fun buttons, cool accessories, etc.. I know our kids like checking out 'the inside' of new cars.

    That being said, I think your kids are like our kids, and they get very 'attached' to many objects and make them personal and part of the family. Our children take the movie 'Herbie' to heart. And they always name our vehicles, we've never had a car/truck that doesn't have a 'name'. :) Especially when we go on vacation and rent a car/van, our first biggest discussion is what we're going to name our 'friend'? [From Blue Rocket to Sunflower] =) (This includes our oldest daughter that wants a female say against three boys.) :)

    Your daughters are very blessed to have a dad who has 'Keep or Trade in' thoughts for the sake of his daughters


Inside Bill's Head -- Previously Known as (Inside the Head of a Grieving Single Dad)

In August of 2009 my wife Jennifer passed away from an Anaplastic Astrocytoma Brain Tumor. She was only 38 years old. She left me and our two little girls Abbie and Allie to continue life’s journey.

I promised her that I would NOT become angry and bitter about what order to do that I am attempting to write to express my thoughts and feelings.

This site is a place where I can express my thoughts, feelings and rants...