I am in love. What started as a tryst, one quick trip down the highway, has turned into something so much more. The minute I introduced you to my mother, I knew. The look on her face. I think she wanted you for herself, but she’d never admit it. Taking you to meet my kids was the hardest part, but they loved you from the beginning. It just seemed like it was meant to be.

I don’t profess my love blindly. I have been in great relationships with other cars, but nothing like you. Those sedans didn’t have the automatic doors keeping my children’s fingers safe from a slam. There was no panoramic moonroof for them to gaze through. And let’s not even get started on the entertainment system. Not only can my children watch a movie quietly, you even came with two complimentary sets of headphones and batteries. It’s like you knew me right away.

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I had no idea that it was 0.3 miles to get out of my subdivision before your bright and cheery navigation lady started talking to me. She’s so good that when I turn the music up to drown out the arguing, her voice gets even louder. I think she’s a mother herself. She gets me. And she knows that we’re racing against her estimated time of arrival. I like to shave off a minute or two. Sometimes she lets me win.

When we’re alone, I tell her secrets. She’s one of my best friends.

Speaking of best friends, you treat me like yours. Never any judgment when I leave an empty Diet Coke can behind. Not a word about the French fries that are stuck in places I can’t reach. You never even flinched when the entire contents of my daughter’s brand new grape slushy spilled everywhere. No, you just absorbed it into your durable dark mats and it was like it never happened.

You give and you give and don’t ask for anything in return. Just a little gas to fill your fuel-efficient self. Maybe a wash now and then. For goodness sake, you came with your own vacuum. You make this relationship too easy for me.

I didn’t know I would fall so madly for your touch screen. The climate control and stereo menus are so simple to use. And its beautiful, lighted display appeals to my senses. Speaking of stereo, you don’t judge my taste in music. There are a lot of days I just need Nelly in my life. But there are also days dedicated to Barry Manilow and Hanson.

You never second guess my choices and you let me sing as loud as I want. Thank you.

Our first winter together was harsh. The snow and the ice threatened to stop our adventures, but you weren’t having it. You kicked it into all-wheel drive and made me the queen of the road. Your bun warmers are divine. And you really went above and beyond with the heated wheel. You certainly didn’t have to do that, but I am just so glad you did.

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Remember that first road trip? Gosh, it was great. Your disappearing luggage rails are incredible. So functional, yet sleek looking. And man, did you know what you were doing with cup holders. One for all seven of us. OMG! Those USB ports in the third row! Phones were charged and tweens were silent. Ahhhhmaazzzing! I’m just in awe of how you thought of everything. Legroom, Stow ‘n Go, extra-large cargo space. I can’t get over it. You’ve given me everything I’ve ever wanted. I don’t know how to repay you.

I have loved in my life and I have lost. There has been unmatched heartbreak. But through the most difficult times, you have been there. You’ve never yelled in anger or pouted. You don’t talk back when you don’t get your way. Instead, you are a sounding board, a constant, a very best friend. Thank you for never letting me down. I mean, there was that one battery incident on a cold February day, but I think we’re beyond it. Here’s to many more years together. May you always be filled with laughter and love . . . and when we’re alone, 90s gangster rap.

Colleen Dilthey Thomas

Colleen Dilthey Thomas is a sister to three brothers, a mother to three sons, a wife to one husband, and an expert on absolutely nothing to do with boys. She also has a daughter . . . she’s not quite sure what to do with her either. Colleen is a Listen To Your Mother St. Louis Alum and her writing has appeared on BLUNTmoms, POPSUGAR, and Scary Mommy. She chronicles the wise words of her sons, the Handsomes, and her own misadventures on her blog, Come On Colleen. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram to join the crazy.