The long goodbye …

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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Breaking up is hard to do … especially in a small town.

It’s tough to let go when it’s impossible to get lost. There are reminders around every corner of what was and what could have been. You piece your heart back together only to run into your lost love on the street or catch a glimpse of them at the grocery store.

Moving on is an emotional feat.

And therein lies my problem with a certain 2011, maroon Jeep Wrangler.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

My family was enamored with the vehicle, but it was time to part ways. It was a difficult decision leading up to our split, but we finally did it. Last spring we traded the Jeep for a Suburban, a true mom-mobile, and although it was the best decision for our family, it still hurt a little.

While the Suburban is what we needed – it’s comfortable, spacious and allows us to haul all the people – it’s not as much fun.

It’s a little like driving a bus. But on the flip side, my long-legged children thank me. They could no longer fit in the back of the two-door Jeep. I knew breaking up with the Wrangler was inevitable, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

And the worst part? We see it everywhere!

About the time I make peace with being captain of a small ship (although the ‘Burb is better than the mini-van I once drove), the fun, sporty Jeep will jet past.

The first time we saw it, the kids noticed before I did.

“Isn’t that Dad’s Jeep?”

Surely not.

But it was. My heart sank a little, and I quickly reminded myself of all the ‘Burb’s great qualities. It may not be cooler, but it’s definitely more practical. And certain phases of your life require practicality. On this day I had a backache and was grateful for the Suburban’s seat warmers. Looking back, that seems kind of sad, but it was all I could muster that afternoon.

My mind quickly shifted to anticipating my husband’s reaction. How would he feel, seeing a new driver enjoying the Jeep? Upon hearing the news the Jeep was still in town, his interest was piqued, but he remained cool. I’m convinced he held it together for me and kids, but I’m certain he was wrecked inside.

Over the next few months, I would see it periodically, and without fail, my heart would skip a beat. There it is (sigh) … but in the same breath, I’d remind myself of what I had in the trusty Suburban. All was well.

Then just last weekend we saw the Jeep parked in front of a Decatur home. Now we know where it lives. A wave of disbelief and angst washed over the family (the Jeep!), but within minutes, it turned into collective closure. For some reason, seeing it parked in front of another home, not our home, made the split feel official. The Jeep was no longer part of our lives.

It was time to accept that, appreciate the good times we had together and move on.

Kristen Tribe is editor of the Messenger.

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