The Road Ahead : December 2012
63 DEC 2012/JAN 2013 THE ROAD AHEAD AFTER TWO YEARS of regaling readers about my family life on four wheels, the time has come to hang up the car keys. It's been a fun ride, for me at least. It's not often one has the chance to look at family life from a motoring perspective. Before writing this column, I didn't really appreciate the pivotal role cars play in our day-to-day existence. I took for granted how much easier life is because of the family car -- ironic considering I have experience firsthand what it's like to not have one. When we first moved to the Gold Coast, we were a one- car family. Mr Wheels had just started working at a site that was about 40 minutes drive from home, so he would take the car at 5am and not return home until 6pm. With a toddler and a newborn at home, I had no inclination to disturb the peace and drive him to work at that ungodly hour in order to have the car at my disposal. Looking back, I can understand why I thought I would manage without a car. At the time we were living on the beachfront in Burleigh Heads, five minutes' walk from the local shops. As the weeks went by, the novelty of spending time in the park with the kids and walking down the shops began to wear thin. As a newcomer to the Gold Coast, I desperately wanted to explore my new surroundings. And as I began to meet other mothers, I began to tire of having to constantly turn down invitations for play dates simply because I didn't have a mode of transportation. What I missed, most of all, was my independence and the freedom of being able to hop in a car and drive anywhere I chose. I lasted exactly three months without a car before I reached my wit's end and convinced Mr Wheels to 'invest' in a second car. I can't begin to describe the joy I felt being able to pack up the kids and spend a day out exploring. As my travelling circle widened, so did my social circle, and it wasn't long before the kids and I had formed a group of friends and gained a real sense of belonging. So you can see why, as I said in my very first column back in 2011, I don't consider a car to just be a means of getting from A to B. In some ways, it's part of the family. And best of all, it doesn't talk back. HELEN WHEELS helen's last hurrah Make life easier with an Acorn Stairlift Direct from the manufacturer Safe, reliable and trouble free For straight or curved staircases Ask about our free home assessment Indoor and outdoor lifts available An Acorn Stairlift could be the key to retaining your independence, while still being able to enjoy the beauty and space of the home you love.