A New Lease on Life—by Jamie Levine
Because my three-year-lease on my Honda CRV was due to expire in April, and I had a little spare time on my hands while I was in between semesters, a couple of weeks ago, I went back to the dealership to explore my options; nobody was more surprised than me when I walked out with a lease to a brand-new 2013 model (under the same payment plan). When I told Jayda that we were exchanging our car for a new one, I thought she’d be excited. But when she heard the news during our ride to the dealership that evening, she started to sob. And when I parked our old car in the lot and handed the keys over to the salesman, Jayda hugged the bumper, in a grand “goodbye” gesture to our car—and insisted that I do the same. I found Jayda’s behavior amusing, but later realized that she had only known that one car in her lifetime (the one we had leased prior to it had been returned when she was just turning three and she had no memory of it), and thus losing it was pretty significant to her. Therefore, a few days later, when she asked if someone else had our old car now, I made up a detailed story about another family that would love it and take care of it for us. My words seemed to comfort her.
A few weeks have passed, and Jayda now loves our new car, “Blackie,” though she does complain about the color (obviously, it’s black). She has asked me several times if we can get a red car next time, and I keep telling her we’ll talk about it in a few years…when she turns nine (which is when the new lease is up). I’m thrilled with my new car—it’s sleeker and more upscale looking than our last car—and it has some great accessories like Bluetooth and a back-up camera. But the car—and Jayda’s reactions to the change—is also a reminder of how fast time goes by and how much my life is changing. Three years ago, I had a three-year-old toddler and was finishing up my prerequisites for graduate school—and praying that I’d get accepted somewhere when I finally applied. Today, I have a precocious kindergartner and in just four more months, I’ll graduate and receive my M.S. in speech-language pathology. Time certainly has flown by fast.
Embarking on a new career this late in my life has been rather scary—just as choosing to become a single mother was. And though I can’t predict what the future holds for me and my new career or for my daughter, no matter what happens, it has been—and I know it will continue to be—one hell of a ride.