The expression on people's faces when we announce we only have one car amuses Gary and me. The two car family is a given in this day and age, much like microwaves, cell phones, and computers. But since I'm not working right now, it's a given we can live without and we believe we're gaining more than we're losing. Of course, we're saving on gas, insurance and upkeep. But there are other gains too.
A much saner, happier me is a pretty big one. I have the perfect excuse to not over-extend myself or rush around trying to meet other people's expectations. As I've said before, it's not as cute or sweet. Nor does it make me noble; being chronically guilty of this took a notable toll on me emotionally and physically. I need some time to recover and rethink. Not having a car available means I don't have to explain to everyone who asks why I don't want to do something. If I can't get there, I can't be in charge of it.
Also, we have to plan our trips more carefully. So we combine grocery shopping with field trips and kids' activities and on the rare occasion that I have to drive Gary to work so I can keep the car, we get extra time together away from phones, computers, etc. Every gallon of gasoline is carefully measured out and every mile is accounted for and we've gotten good at it. Planning out our activities together makes for fewer communication problems as well.
Life is quieter. I'm sometimes home for two or three days at a stretch, only leaving the yard when I go for my daily walks (up to two miles now) or when I decide to take Solomon for a short walk in the woods or down to the lake for his "hydrotherapy". I'm slowly getting to know the people in my neighborhood as I walk past their houses. I stopped and smelled honeysuckle yesterday; I don't remember the last time the scent of wild flowers stopped me in my tracks. We have time to take the able-bodied dogs for longer walks. Games of frisbee are being played, lightening bugs are being chased, marshmallows are being roasted. Moments are being measured. Memories are being made.
We believe that when we need another car again, it will be there; God has provided us with every car we've ever had and I don't expect that to change. I just hope it's not too soon. We're enjoying this.