I'll never forget the day my wife and I made the final payment toward my vehicle.

For years, we'd been saddled with two car payments, and just months earlier had paid off her primary vehicle. Then, on that glorious day in the spring of 2014, we paid off the second.

The liberating feeling was something to behold. It was like getting a huge raise. We were busting.

Since that day, I vowed to anyone who would listen that the Parkhouse family would not be taking on a car payment for a very long time. So long as the Car Gods allowed us to drive my Chevy Malibu Maxx and her Dodge Charger, we would do so. Drive them into the ground, so long as we don't have to take on another car payment.

Though we didn't know it at the time, that all changed this past April. We found out Tabitha was pregnant. Our first child would soon be arriving.

The months that followed have been frantic in preparation. I had no idea preparing a house for a baby could be such a time-consuming and costly endeavor. Every minute of it will soon be worth it, of course.

Then, a few weeks ago, as the weather started to turn colder, a thought entered my head. Our primary vehicle — the Charger — is not safe for our baby.

We fell in love with that car when we purchased it. We knew it was the car for us.

That was when the weather was warm. Once the winter hit, and the snow fell, we quickly realized that this vehicle, which is rear-wheel drive, doesn't do so well in the cold stuff.

The car would fishtail if you're not careful and sometimes even when you are careful and my wife, bless her heart, was constantly getting stuck in the snow.

Suddenly, the thought of us driving around our daughter in that car became too much to bear.

Before you shame me for not being concerned prior to that about my wife's well-being, well, we both were. But we really loved the car, so we just dealt with it.

But, just "dealing with it" is no longer an option. I've always heard the stories about people's perspectives changing once baby arrives, but didn't have a deep appreciation for that sentiment until these last few weeks.

Now, the Parkhouse family is the proud owner of a new (to us) 2014 Chevy Traverse and the accompanying car payment that goes with it.

No amount of money, though, is worth the peace of mind that's been purchased.

Contact Managing Editor Adam Parkhouse at aparkhouse@thenewsdispatch.com or 1-219-214-4170.

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