You guys watch the show This Is Us, right? Well, it’s absolutely one of my favorite shows on television right now and has been since day one! So, like millions of Americans, I tuned in all teary-eyed to last week’s episode where the Pearson Family reminisces about all of the sweet and bittersweet experiences they shared centered around their family car. And then, of course, we learn that Jack knew all along just how much this car would be integral to their family in creating a lifetime of memories. *ALL the tears!*
I mean, I have stories around *my* first car – like how I bought it as a stick shift because it was cheaper and only learned to drive stick the moment I almost rolled back into traffic. Haha. And how I’d push the limits of that old car driving it up and down the road to see my boyfriend (now my husband) or road trip for another college party with my girls. And finally, how I packed up that baby after college and started a whole new life in Atlanta nearly a whole 17 years ago…
However, as far as my family goes, I’ll have to say our “car story” probably started only about 2 years ago. I’d just quit my job to pursue my blog full time and still really unsure of how that was going to turn out, when I got an email from a Kia Exec. inviting my family on a trip to Orlando happening in a few months. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. It was really my first press trip with a brand and I was elated to be able to share my world with my family. I’ll have to admit, I didn’t know that much about Kia cars – or if I’m being really honest, not that much good stuff, but I was happy to learn and enjoy the experience. Little did I know, that would be the start of our family’s car story.
The trip was the #SedonaFamily trip where we got to drive the brand new Kia Sedona minivan from Tampa to Orlando, FL. While in Orlando, we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, experienced Universal Studios and the Kennedy Space Center as a family and had such an incredible time together! While we’d traveled as a family before that, it was the first trip that my youngest daughter, Samara, was really old enough to remember. So that made it extra special since she still talks about that trip from time to time.
Following that trip, I really wanted to get to know more about Kia since it was clear that the brand had made some serious changes to their cars over the past few years and I never would’ve thought I’d enjoy driving a Kia so much! So, I asked the Kia team if I could try out another one of their newer vehicles. This time, I got to drive the Kia Optima. I remember this experience especially because I was driving my girls up to their grandmother’s house in Virginia and these would be the last 7 hours I’d get to spend with them before they’d be away from me for a big chunk of summer. This would also be the trip where they learned how to play “Punch Buggy” and the kid-friendly version of the alphabet game. Lol
After returning from Virginia, I had a few more trips lined up for the summer, so my husband got to spend some time in the Optima. Next thing I knew, I got a phone call from him in my hotel that went like this:
Him: “Hey Babe…don’t be mad, but I did something today.”
Me: “Oh boy…What did you do?”
Him: “You promise you won’t be mad?” I just had to do it.”
Me: “Fine. Just tell me.”
Him: “I just bought a car. A Kia Optima. I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.”
For the record, I wasn’t actually thinking the worst of the situation. I was thinking he’d just gotten a tattoo and not bought a whole new vehicle, but yeah, that’s what happened… And so continued our car story.
Over the years, my relationship with Kia has grown quite a bit and I have had the chance to experience several of their newer vehicles. Honestly, it has also really encouraged my family to get out and actually create more and more stories together. The last year was probably the most memorable year for us as we road tripped like never before! From Jekyll Island to Hilton Head to Myrtle Beach to my hometown of New York City, we had an absolute blast together! Whether it’s the car they remember, or just all of the smiles and laughter, I know each of those experiences are permanently etched into their memory books.
Now, whether it’s a family road trip or just our day to day conversations to and from school, it’s my goal to keep creating these moments they will never forget and helping them to build their story!
***In memory of Jack Pearson 🙂 ***