Hello, Dear Reader.
I know what you’re thinking. I’ve stood where you once stood: in the parking lot, physically melting into the pavement, as you try to cram all of your kids and their accompaniments into that cool girl car you swear you’d drive into the ground. As they scream like banshees from their car seats, echoes of that one, deeply offensive suggestion creep into your mind:
“don’t you just want a minivan?”
You’ve heard it before. From your MIL, that annoying lady in the PTA, your spouse… but you? NO! You’re a cool mom! You will NEVER drive a minivan! The suggestion is like a dagger to your heart!
For me, it all started with my husband — who, for whatever reason, has had a borderline-unhealthy obsession with minivans from the first time I tinkled on a stick. I say “for whatever reason”, but really, it’s because he drove one in college. Proudly. It allowed him to transport the girls’ crew team to and from practices. He thinks that made him cool and attractive… I think that made him a sucker with a minivan, but whatever. Pa-tay-toh, pa-tah-to.
Despite his constant assurance that they were wonderful and magical and absolutely necessary, I just couldn’t get on board. I mean, me? A minivan? I’m so young! This is madness! I am hip! I am cool! I am stylish!!!!!
Side note: I am none of these things. The only time the word “hip” can be associated with my name is when discussing just how much mine have widened. “Cool” is something I am not, both physically and metaphorically, as postpartum hot flashes are definitely a thing, and unless you call these mom jeans and puke-stained t-shirt “stylish,” we can just call that one a loss, too.
I tried so hard to find an SUV that would fit all of us and not cost 7 million dollars. No dice. I told myself it was fine. I don’t need no stinkin’ SUV! Right? Right!? Wrong.
Realizing that I was not the mom I’d imagined myself being was hard for me. I went through all the stages: shock (crying), denial (crying), anger (crying), bargaining (crying)… and then: ferocious googling. “Minivans with flames on the side,” “minivans for cool moms.”
Then, the bottom fell out. As in, “Hey honey, look at this one! Let’s have them ship it to our CarMax! Let’s go test drive it!”
While I hated myself every minute of that test drive, I HAD NEVER FELT SO ALIVE! What are these? DVD players that come out of the ROOF!? There is SECRET STORAGE SPACE UNDERNEATH THESE VERY FLOORBOARDS!? Don’t even get me started on those sliding doors, y’all. I PRESS A BUTTON AND THEY OPEN. It’s witchcraft! Witchcraft, I tell you!
Friends, it’s been three years since that test drive, and let me tell you: I have never once regretted diving head-first into the minivan cult. I never have to worry about my kids swinging their doors into that bright, shiny Beamer next to us in the parking lot. There are roughly 45 cupholders for all of those coffee mugs I keep forgetting to take inside. And plus, I made it cool by putting bumper stickers (not unlike an eager 16-year-old trying to assert their personality) on the back window. See!? Minivan moms can be cool, too!
I will say, though, it’s a slippery slope: did I audibly squeal with glee when the rental car company tried to give us a Nissan Sprinter while my beloved van was in the shop? I’d rather not incriminate myself. Do I, occasionally, find myself scouring craigslist for an Airstream to tote the Swiss Family Morrill throughout the continental U.S. next summer? ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME.
So, my suggestion? Don’t throw shade before you ride a mile in another mother’s swagger wagon. I have a feeling you’re gonna like it.