After years of protest and swearing I would never, ever, under any circumstances have a need … I am the proud owner of a MINIVAN! Yes, my final badge of motherhood has been bestowed on me and I could not be happier!
My protest began as a result of being a passenger in one as a teen. This was the 80s, the birth decade of the minivan and they were, at that time, glorified station wagons and, to me, just as unattractive. More importantly, oh so un-cool! And my family had one that just screamed “grocery grabber” or “loser mobile” … you know, with the big faux wood-grain siding on it. But yet, it served us well. It was our method of transportation for countless trips to Florida. It carted me back and forth to college many times. It did its job well.
Growing up, getting married, and having kids did not heighten the desire for one because now the cool thing was the SUV. You can get one in any size: small, medium, large, extra-large. What did I need with a minivan? Though the style and creature comforts of the minivan have changed for the better, I was still stuck in my 80s stigma that minivans turned you into a frumpy old mom who’s no fun. Give me a tricked out SUV and I was good to go. I had a Honda CRV. Hardly tricked out … in fact, the base-est of the base models. But an SUV, nonetheless, and that was good enough for me.
The shift came when a good friend of mine, also on protest with two kids, broke down and surrendered to the call of the minivan cult. I was shocked! This lady, who once declared that in spite of motherhood, she will always drive a cute car, now owns a minivan. I was convinced she was brainwashed! I couldn’t believe she of all people—queen of diva-dom—caved on her cute car! And she was happy about it! My thoughts were if she could do it (and love it), maybe I’ll consider it … later … when I have another child (I only had one at the time). They are definitely going to have to get cooler!
Fast forward—I now have a four-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. Two kids in a CRV is like two kids in a VW Beetle! Only one other person could ride with me; two if they were skinny enough to fit between the car seats in the back. The stroller took up the entire trunk space, so forget about shopping. A bigger vehicle was inevitable.
The evolution of the minivan began to taunt me. Commercials showed hip thirty-somethings relishing their vans with dual moon roofs, super surround sound system, and one-touch fold down disappearing rear seats. It was some kind of eye-candy! 9,000 compartments for all of my junk … I was salivating! Gone was the boring box bus. Here was the sleek, aerodynamic family limo! And I have just two words for you—AUTOMATIC DOORS! Enough said; sign me up!
Alas, it would be a long time before I could get one. I mean, c’mon … I’m am an entrepreneur for goodness sake! Salary—not! Not to mention, not having a car payment was bliss and let’s face it … I don’t care how great a new minivan would be, no car payment (in this gas guzzling day and age) trumps a new ride! So I figured I would be content to wait until the wheels fell off of my CRV. Or so I thought …
My kiddies and I went on a three-week vacation to visit family. My hubby stayed behind due to work obligations and (now I realize) scheme planning. Upon arrival back in Atlanta, SURPRISE—he picked us up in a brand spanking new, fully loaded Honda Odyssey—MY MINIVAN! I nearly fainted dead away!
It’s been about two months to the day since I have had my new ride and I swear I have no idea how I survived this long without it! The ability to listen to my own music while my kids listen to theirs or watch a DVD is a MAJOR plus! I am enjoying the many other hidden treasures that the brochure or sales person cannot tell you about. Such as the time my daughter and I were caught in a monsoon and both umbrellas were in the very back of the van. She was able to literally step into the trunk and retrieve the umbrellas with unbelievable ease. She was pleased, too. I am still learning my way around this super high-tech vehicle, like trying to use my voice commands. ”Bertha” and I are still working out our communication kinks. I guess it would also help if I actually read the instructions instead of skimming them at a stop light.
Believe it or not, there are a few drawbacks to the minivan. For instance, the enormous abyss of a truck, while fantastic for a trip to Costco, is a pain when you have to unload it and literally have to climb inside to retrieve items against the second row seats. But that is a minimal complaint weighed against the many benefits. Yes, I am thinking about my precious automatic doors!
I have made total peace with my surrender and embrace the barrage of “I told you sos” that have come from the other minivan cult members. I have completely crossed to the other side. Honda’s ads say “Respect the Van.” Yes, Master, I do respect the van!