God damn minivan

I find myself in unknown territory.  I actually had to look in the mirror the other day and make sure it was still me.  “Yep, there I was.  “Good Lord woman, comb your hair, and is that a piece of lettuce stuck between your teeth?”

We need a new vehicle.  The minivan has seen its better days.  Sure, we can get several more miles out of it, but the fact is, its days are numbered.  The clock is ticking and we will soon have to say goodbye.   

Six years ago upon purchase of this over-the-road ridiculousness, the very thought of its ultimate demise would’ve brought a smile to my face and a skip in my step.  This much is certain, it would have definitely triggered a celebratory response. Free at last!

The conversation surrounding whether or not to buy one went something like this…

Husband:  “A minivan makes sense.  It’s the practical thing to do.”

Me:  “I am NOT driving a minivan.  Do I look like a middle aged soccer mom?  Several expletives were offered before following up with, “Not gonna happen.  Ever.  Fuck you.”

And then it happened.  In a very weak and rare moment, I caved and we bought a god damn minivan.  I hated it, and furthermore disliked my husband for weeks on end after its purchase. 

“This is SO not cool.  I am cool, and this is SO not.  Can we park it down the street or something?”

There was a clear conflict of interest, but at the end of the day, this over-sized, misshapen, and very uncool configuration of metal was mine.  No wishing it away in my dreams or leaving the keys in the ignition with the windows open in the grocery store parking lot was going to change my reality.  Nobody wants a god damn minivan, even if it’s free.

Fast forward to present day and my husband and I are having a similar conversation.  “What should we get?” 

Husband:  “Maybe we should look into getting a truck or a big SUV or something?  The kids are getting older after all.”

Me:  “Are you crazy?  I mean seriously, non-sliding, non-automatic doors, and no stow-and-go?  Puhleease.”

This is a fact.  My husband once fit 2 couches and 2 end tables in the van all at the same time.  It was nothing short of a Christmas miracle.  If given a sugary snack and the iPad, we could’ve fit two children in the stow-and-go compartment in the same trip.  Have you ever made a trip to Costco with three children?  Space is a virtue.  Enough said. 

Circumstances of life have led me to become a stay at home mom.  Did I ask for it?  No.  Do I feel fortunate?  Extremely.  Do I love every single waking moment of it?  Not a fucking chance.  Do I want/need the assistance of inanimate objects on a daily basis to make my life a little bit easier, thereby diffusing what would have otherwise been another real and public meltdown?  Absolutely.

Enter inanimate object #1.  The god damn minivan.

I didn’t see it coming and it’s not clear how or when it happened, but the god damn van and I have become friends, (and I don’t make friends with just anyone).  It’s like it was taken from a page in a best selling romance novel.

“Two unlikely forces find each other in the darkest of hours, decide to put their differences aside for the good of mankind, combine forces, and conquer the world in what can only be described as the greatest love story ever told.

For all of you haters out there, this public service announcement is for you. I used to be you. Consider this your first lesson in humility. The minivan is a misunderstood and underappreciated misfit who just wants a friend.  I used to bully the minivan.  I am ashamed to admit it.  I was no better than the bully at school who picks on the smart kid with glasses that carries around a chemistry set in his over-sized backpack that has a secret compartment for breadsticks and candy.  That kid is going to be President (of something) someday, and more importantly, drive a minivan. Because he’s smart.

My cool factor used to be defined by the vehicle I drove, the designer clothes I wore, and the swagger I used to carry myself with as I walked down the street.  It’s sad, and shallow, and true.   

I have learned my lesson.  It has taken three kids, plenty of wine, and several tears, but I own my coolness now.  The vehicle I drive does not define me.  The fact is, when I get all dolled up and pull up to a stop light with my windows down, three kids in the back, and Iggy blaring on the radio, I know what the people in the car next to me are thinking… 

“Damn, that bitch is cool.”

Or not.

But my kids think I’m pretty cool when I can open 3 doors with the push of a button in less than 2 seconds without flinching, so that’s something I guess.

Who wants a breadstick? 

God bless the minivan.

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