Monday, January 7, 2013

Big Blue

Christopher bought a car in December 2011.  He used his own money and paid cash, literally.  He was so excited.  His friends named the car Big Blue.  It was a midnight blue Ford Explorer.  Big enough to toss all his football gear in the back and roomy in the front for that big frame of his.
Chris was at the age where his friends were also getting their licenses and first cars.  For some reason many seemed to be buying a shade of blue.  Brian got a truck named Tough Blue and Adam had Little Blue.  There were various other blues too.  The kids were maturing so fast they didn't require rides like they used to which was bittersweet.  It put a new fear in me, not having to do all the driving but it was a new source of independence for Chris and he loved it.  

Doing the driving required Chris to re-evaluate his timing.  I know he used to like me to drop him off at 6am weight lifting or pick him up after football practice because I was his valet.  He got dropped at the door and taxied home in a warm or cool car.  That was a luxury he didn’t realize until he began driving himself.  Once the responsibility was on him to be at school by six it dawned on him that he needed extra time to warm the car up and then walk from his parking space.  No door to door service anymore.  I never sensed much annoyance because I know he loved the freedom but I do recall a few sighs and some rushing around because he didn't plan quite right and was running behind.  I'd like to think he appreciated all the years of rides he received once he had to do it for himself.  There's something to be said for being chauffeured.
I remember a few times when I was his passenger making overly loud and probably annoying sighs and smiling telling him I enjoyed the role reversal so he could drive my butt around town.  I'd do a purposeful little wiggle in the passenger seat and settle in happily. I'd get that eye roll but I know he got a kick out of it.  It must have felt empowering.
I have always named my cars.  I had Barney, Sylvester, Ivy and now Mo.  I don't know why I name my car I guess I just don't like calling it "car"... I talk about my vehicle like it's another kid... I say things like "Mo needs an oil change" or "Mo's an embarrassment, he needs a bath".
Cars are a part of the family I guess.  They must be because I'm missing Big Blue terribly.  I wish he was out front, I hate the empty space.

Chris used to find me building my dream car on my iPad once in a while.  He knew I had a saved search on and he would tell me he'd buy her for me one day when he was in the NFL.  Her name is Ruby.  Yes, she's already named and Chris talked to me about her.  He could probably list her features.  I would search local dealerships for her and mentally negotiate her price!  (What a nut I am!!)  But I did it often and was wrapping my head around owning her.
Well, interestingly enough, which I believe was by no coincidence... the last day I was with Chris, he and I were standing right beside Ruby in the Shaker parking lot!  I mean totally Ruby.  She was my dream car right there - and not on a showroom lot which was the closest I had actually been to her any other time.  Yes, I also went and test drove her... I wanted to be sure she was the one for me.  Anyway, there we were on November 30th around two in the afternoon just after the football banquet.  Chris had parked his car next to mine and we were standing there saying goodbye and I had given him money for the Siena/U Albany game that night.  He was headed to Bailey's and I was headed Christmas shopping.  He hugged me and as we turned he said "Mom!  It's Ruby!"  Yep, it was Ruby.  I don't know who owns her and she wasn't there when we first arrived but showroom new that car was shining like the ruby she is.  I smiled at Chris and couldn't believe she was within reach.

I know I'm going to buy her one day now, for sure.  Chris would like that plus it will be something else I can check off my bucket list. Why dream it if I don't eventually achieve it?  

I wonder if most other people name their cars?  Do you?  Are they a part of your family like ours feel to me?  I miss Big Blue and I'm sorry he's been damaged.  How weird is that?  I want him back with his SHEN stickers shining proudly on the back and the emergency kit we built and placed in the trunk for Chris.  Last year’s Christmas gifts were centered around his new car;  Eagle's license plates, air fresheners, a phone charger, a GPS, CD's, etc.  I miss big blue and I miss Chris.   

I don't really have a moral to this blog, just sharing a thought out loud.  I've been seeing many more dark blue older model SUV's lately.  More that I think I've ever seen.  At first it upset me terribly.  I wondered why all of a sudden they were so apparent to me every time I drove somewhere?  They seemed to be on every corner.  Then it was brought to my attention that I should embrace each and every one of them as a sign Chris is with me and thinking of me.  Now I like seeing them.  I find myself looking for them.  I hope when you see them too you will think of Chris.
Thank you for reading.


  1. Strangly enough my car is named little blue, it is a little kia rio, and she proudly wears a shaker shen sticker in memory of Christopher and Deanna. Thank you for sharing, I enjoy reading your words every morning. <3

  2. There are many things that make me think of Chris, Deanna, Bailey, and Matt. Songs on the radio and cars are just a few. I did not know your son but I feel like I do now. This was a great post today I love the things you write about. I am sure "Ruby" is waiting for you to come pick her up and enjoy her. I hope you get your dream car. I look forward to reading evey morning maybe one day soon you will be able to tell us you brought Ruby home. :)

  3. My kids are still young (9,6 & 5), so we have a dirty old minivan, with no name. :( It has 110k miles on it and I wouldn't trade it in for a new car any time soon. I've been picturing myself in a new SUV, though. I'm turning 40 this year and I finally made it through the baby years. I feel like I need a pick me up. It's time right? But, you are correct, she is part of our family and we should name her. Everyone has their little space and cubby filled with junk/treasures. She's been faithful to us as we've enjoyed many family adventures in her. She deserves a name. I'll ask the kids this afternoon!

    Independence is the word bubbling up in my thoughts as I read your post this's what every mom wants and fears the most for her kids. This year, it dawned on me I better start training my kids to function on their own without me or I'll have helpless teenagers. I can't go everywhere with them or do everything for them in life. Those 0-5 years are so exhausting because you do practically everything for them. I feel a little guilty and selfish even saying it, but I want a little of my life back.

    I welcome the new phase to come to our family life this year. I'm signing my youngest up for full day kindergarten. She has promised to give me "baby bunny" to hug when I feel lonely. I have these fantasies that I'll be in the gym working out, going out to lunch with friends, getting out of my sweat pants, grocery shopping and cleaning the house without anyone under my feet. And yet...I will probably find myself chasing the bus down the road, hugging baby bunny and wondering how the heck time slipped through my hands. Why can't I just stop and enjoy? Why do they have to grow up and go out into that scary world where tragic things can happen? Why does life have to be so...fragile?

    You do come to the blog every day with such strength and positive words and we all wonder how. I like Chris and he seems like he was and continues to be this positive force in this world. I miss Chris and Big Blue in the physical for you, though. I know he has left several "baby bunnies" for you to hug as you transition through this, but nothing is like hugging your real baby. You are doing your best to push through into a new phase that you do not welcome, but graciously accept. I continue to pray for you and I know God will give you the strength to make it through. I like to remind myself that time does pass quickly though and in a short while the bus will come home. It's the hope that makes you push through the day and get the work done.

    Thank you for sharing!

  4. Your strength is amazing, your words are comforting, and your love is enduring.... you are an inspiration.

  5. I love your blog, I read it every day. It helps me look at the loss of my husband two years ago differently. It helps me be more positive. I think of Chris and Deanna, Matt and Bailey often. They have touched so many lives as have you. Thank you for sharing Chris with us.

  6. Good morning Regina. Yes, I do name my cars! The last 3 anyway. My daughter Ally named my Jeep, Jeepy (original I know, but she was young). After that I had an orange HHR! Orange is my favorite color and I wanted a car that I could find in a parking lot! So my orange HHR's name was Nemo. All the kids at school and my nieces and nephews LOVED Nemo. Nemo was a big hit. My now car is a black dodge grand caravan. I am 47 with a 23 year old and a 17 year old and I bought my first minivan! I do everything backwards but with all the traveling and all the bagpipe equipment and "stuff" I needed the comfort for the long trips and the room! She gets ready for proms after out of town bagpipe competitions, in the car and at rest stops when it's dress time, so it has to be spacious! My now minivan is called Edward. Yes, a strange name for a car, but a bunch of us read the Twilight books and have seen all the movies multiple times. I'm shamelessly (jokingly on Team Edward). So when I went out one day, my minivan was sparkling in the sunlight because of the mettalic black paint. The name Edward came to me, because Edward, a vampire, sparkles in the sunlight! I know... who do you think is strange now?

    Letting go of our kids when they start to drive is a test of faith for sure. My son, 23, still has to text me when he goes on long trips! I've let go of him texting me when he gets to work, etc... This weekend he flew to GA to see his father and I made him text me when he got on the plane; landed in GA; got to his father's... It's something I just can't let go of. I just need to know he's safe. He goes to visit his friends in MA, Long Island and Plattsburgh and I even ask him to text me when he gets there. He's good about it. He knows I worry. My 17 year old daughter is not ready to drive and I'm not forcing the issue. She will get there eventually, and until then, I will hold on as long as I can to have that last shred of "control" that she is willinging giving me. She hasn't been the one craving getting a license and I'm thankful. I was also the same way. I didn't get my license until I was 18. With her commitments being in multiple states for piping, she's not ready to drive to them. It's just more things we can do together until she's off on her own.

    I hope to read soon that you got Ruby! You are meant to have that car. I'm sure I'm not the only one who will look forward to reading the blog when you get Ruby.

    God bless.

  7. Today is a happy day for me. As I have read all of your blogs thus to date. And you often speak of signs. Well today I (happily) read the news of the soon to be Charges ...and I also have a Dark Blue, Ford Exploder (as I always call it) sitting in my driveway since the summer when my boyfriend got a new car and is yet to do something with his old one. I will now think of Chris every time I look out my window, or pull in or out of my home, because there sits "Big Blue".

  8. "Why dream it if I don't eventually achieve it?"
    I love this!

  9. Thanks Regina,
    Look forward to your posts. Feel connections as a football Mom, a member of this community and as someone who prays for your family. I continue to wish you peace amd strength. Of course, would trade knowing you, your inspiration in a second if you could not be in this place. But I do hope you feel some support from the 518. I feel like you try to focus on the positives and thats a great lesson for us all.

  10. We call our car Bella. She is a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan(a soccer mom van).

  11. I so understand the last paragraph of today's blog. My Mom drove a silver Honda CRV and although I know it's a popular vehicle and color, I see them almost every time I'm out and I believe each time I see them, it's a sign that she is with me. Tomorrow marks one year since she left us to go with our Father in heaven. I bet I've noticed almost 365 of them since then. It feels good each time I pass by one (sometimes I even look in the drivers side window to see if she's there). I'm glad you like seeing the older blue SUV's now. I hope you will continue to embrace seeing them. I do believe it's a sign that Chris is with you :) Thanks for sharing!

  12. Funny, I've never thought of naming my cars although I have friends that do. I call mine "The Fleet"...LOL...because currently, we own four cars...a 1994 Cutlass Sierra Supreme (it's a boat!), a 1996 Nissan Sentra, a 2008 Hyundai Sante Fe (mine) and a 2009 Kia Spectra (my husbands). The older two cars are driven by three of my kids! The Sentra's on it's last leg and we're willing it to last a bit longer!

    I remember when I had to go to the land of the minivan. I was dragged kicking and screaming...LOL! Then once I got used to driving it there was no going back...I LOVED IT. I was so sad when its transmission went and we had to get rid of it! But that's when I got my Sante Fe and I am so in LOVE with it! Now I never want to have any thing but a SUV!

    The youngest of my four kids is 17 and a few months ago he got his license. It doesn't get easier letting each one go. As time goes on it does, but with each one it is nerve wracking when they and their friends start to drive! I think I'm finally comfortable with my 25 year old heading off on her daily trips but when she goes out of town, she still calls or texts to let me know she's arrived safely! I think a mother's job is never done!

    Regina, I hope you get Ruby soon! And you're so right when you say "Why have a dream if we don't eventually achieve it?" Live would be no fun without our our dreams!! Thanks again for another awesome blog!! DREAM BIG!!

  13. My first car was named the "Blue beast" & my cousins car was "Orange mama" it was the ugliest color car I've ever seen. I have never named any other car I've owned. Loved this blog :)

  14. Was just reading through my facebook page and I came across this quote Marlo Thomas posted today. It made me think of you and today's blog, so I came back to post it for you! Hope you like it!

    ‎"All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them."– Walt Disney

  15. Hi Mrs. Stewart
    This is the first time I am responding, I however read everyday. I do not have the honor of knowing Chris or your family. I am so very inspired by the positive message all of your posts have. I wanted to share something you, my only hope is to offer support. I was at a funeral for my Father in Law, the clergy officiating the service told us to remember him and all others who have gone "Home" in the present sense. Even though I do not Chris, I hope I do offend you by saying Chris is still the same funny,compassionate person, loving knucklehead (as you so lovingly referred to him) as always just in a different way. Thank you for listening to me, I pray for you, your family

  16. I think it's really cute that you name your cars. I hope one day you get to own your Ruby.

    My daughter, a senior, has her license now too. It was a very bittersweet moment watching her drive off in our Green Ford Explorer for the first time. She is a very safe driver. I have let her drive me around town on occasion too. It's kind of nice to have the roles reversed. Her boyfriend, a junior, is 16 and is waiting for to take his road test. Anyway, the other night they had a double date to the movies, when I asked Victoria are you driving she said no, his mom is. I stopped and thought to myself how time changes so quickly and something I used to grumble about (Mom can you drop me off or pick me up) is a thing of the past. Without even realizing things are changing and we are growing.

  17. As for the car naming, yes! It's funny you mention Big Blue because my very first car was a hand me down from my uncle who was getting a new car. Anyway it was a red Dodge mini van! How embarrassing at 17 years old to be driving a mini van but I didn't care it was a car. Me and my friends used to call it Big Red hahaha I mean we could pile so many people and things in that thing. It was great I was actually so upset when it finally died and I had to get a new car which was like a 2 door Saturn coupe which don't get me wrong I was proud of because I took a loan out for it and I felt like it was really my first car that I could own! Again, I named that one MiMi lol! Then once I paid that off I got a Kia, a purple one for that matter, again how flattering for a boy haha. I named that car Mia, Mia Kia! Finally the car I'm driving now is also a Kia, it is a red Kia forte koup and I have also named it. Her name is Mirage! She's an illusion, here right now but gone in seconds haha. I'm a dork I know. I always named my cars. I always will too! I enjoyed reading this blog, to know I'm not the only weirdo who takes pride in naming their cars lol! Happy Birthday Christopher!

  18. I too drove an Explorer of the same model year for a few months. A dark red Eddie Bauer edition with all the bells and whistles that Mark's aunt sold me for a great deal. Loved that truck, she faithfully transported me up and down the snowy mountain roads in the winter of 2007. I got her just as the snow was creeping in and was working down on Madison Ave at Albany Massage. That's quite a distance to travel from Westerlo in hazardous conditions, but she safely transported me there amongst those crazy city drivers! She was beastly indeed! I never had the chance to name her though. It was a Friday afternoon, the thirteenth actually, February of '08. I was driving on Western in the left lane toward home after working and the traffic was heavy. I had just began to accelerate from a traffic light when before I knew it two cars quickly got into the right lane and I didn't even have time to think oh shi.. before rear ending a lady in new white Nissan Altima. Air bags deployed, the horn began to sound on its own and I was left in a daze as to what just happened. I managed to drive her to the curb before she totally died. I will never forget that feeling, if you haven't been hit by airbags, it HURTS!! And releases God awful gases that choke and blind you. Not to mention the material is so rough it rubbed skin off parts of my face. So many people stopped and came to our aid. All the time all I could think was I'm so glad that she didn't have her wheel turned, as she was making a left hand turn, and get pushed into oncoming traffic. She was actually well enough to walk down the road home. Mom and Dad were actually in the area to get taxes done so were quick to my aid. In the end she was totaled. I had driven a 95 Chevy Monte Carlo previously to her limit 220k! That is my all time favorite car and had fallen in love with the 06 model year even before the explorer (I'm a Chevy guy and not a huge ford fan, but couldn't pass up a great deal on a great truck). Anyway in my searches for a new car I discovered her, my dream. An 06 grey Monte Carlo LT, with only 18000 miles, a sunroof (the explorer had one and after having one, that was a priority!) IN MY PRICE RANGE! I snapped her up and have loved her ever since. A big boaty coupe, and beastly in the snow. No name really though, just 'The Monte'. I guess what I'm trying to say is... Your Ruby is a refined gorgeous machine, and she'll find you!
    A Favorite ;)

  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.