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Op-Ed: Talking about Parenting – A gift means more when it has history

Chris Kovatch

In the midst of all the COVID craziness, summer has been speeding by. We were able to safely get away for a week of much need unplugging. Of course, what trip of ours would be complete without a little drama? Two days before we were scheduled to leave, the motor for the windshield wipers on Christi’s ‘bus’ decided to go out. Thankfully we were able to get a new one installed the day before we left. It turns out that was definitely a good thing as we got to drive through quite a few storms on the road trip.

Father’s Day fell during our trip and Christi had planned for us to stay in Pigeon Forge for a few days at a very nice ‘cabin’. Cabin isn’t really the right word. It was in the mountains and was a very, very nice house. The kids requested that we make it our new home.  She knows that my idea of a vacation isn’t running and doing a ton of activities. Sometimes just relaxing is good too!

I was in for a major surprise on Father’s Day though on top of the plans I knew about. Christi and the kids presented me with the keys to my father-in-law’s Mazda MX-5 Convertible. Now mind you this also is my 40th birthday gift (though I have a few more months at 39).

This gift means so much more to me than it just being a car. Christi’s dad got the convertible for his 55th birthday. He was definitely able to enjoy it, but he unexpectedly passed away when he was 57. His brother then had the car for a few years and eventually Rose bought it back.

Earlier this summer the kids and I began to clean it up and have some work done to ensure its road worthiness. It is a 2008 with 18,000 miles; so needless to say it hasn’t been driven as much as one would expect and needed a little TLC from its lack of use.

This vehicle is like having a piece of Ken for our family to hold on to. Thayer was born the October before he passed away, and my youngest three kids never had the chance to know him. This gives them a link to him and something he enjoyed. The kids have a blast riding with the top down and listening to music. Smiles and laughter abound.  I can fully imagine him driving the car with them as a passenger. They know that this is something that he enjoyed doing. It also allows us to build memories with them as we incorporate it into our lives.

Having a convertible has been something I always wanted. I am not going to lie. But having it be a convertible with a family history makes it so much more than just a car. I look forward to our family making memories with it and who knows, maybe one of my kids will master the art of driving a standard in the future and get to drive it as well.

Chris Kovatch is a resident of Orange County. You can reach him at news@orangeleader.com