Up until recently, I did not care for minivans. Driving around town, I told my daughter I never wanted one. “Not for me!”, I’d say, and zip along in my small SUV.
Many respectable people own and love their minivans. Some of my very close friends gladly rock them. My sister-in-law sings the Toyota Sienna’s all-wheel drive praises. Minivans are all over our neighborhood, which is crawling with families. Families that have drank the Kool-Aid.
The few times I’ve been a passenger in one, they felt overly big and generally frumpy. And yes, I AM a mom, but nothing says “matronly” like a 7-passenger van. Can I please hold onto a shred of my youth??
At a good friend’s baby shower years ago, I looked out the window to see a champagne-colored Odyssey humbly parked out front. One of my friends had buckled and bought one. My stomach dropped: who among us has gone to the dark side?? (She still drives it and swears by it).
But a funny thing happened this year: we found ourselves in a three-family carpool to my younger daughter’s school. Her school’s in a neighboring town, and a bit of a drive. Splitting the haul with other families opens up a good chunk of time, and gives my car (and the environment) a break. The carpool is a win-win that required logistical gymnastics.
After some deep thought, I figured out how to make it work. We’d need to squeeze another car seat in the already tight back seat. My older daughter would need to be on the bus, or at after-care before I started the carpool sequence. If she were home sick, or hanging with me because of a doctor’s appointment, carpool would be cancelled. Because there’s no way I can fit four kids in my car.
(Then I remembered my childhood, when the moms would chuck extra kids in the Oldsmobile wagon “way back” and call it a day. Ahhh, the 80s.)
I bought a backless booster in preparation for the little kid shuttling. My husband cursed as he figured out the three-car seats-across-a-small-SUV puzzle last Sunday night. The sun was quickly setting, and we NEEDED to solve it by Monday morning. After many back-and-forth texts to figure logistics, I didn’t want to let my new carpool buddies down.
He eventually got them all in, and we’ve done the carpool since school started. Just like that, I decided we need a minivan. Sure, the carpool isn’t forever, but long term… There will be room for all! We could bring our kids’ friends places! We could bring OUR friends and family places! I could actually fit stuff in the trunk! Essentially, I began to see a minivan less as an albatross, and more as an opened opportunity.
At the park, my friend Renee showed me the minivan video that went viral, which I sent to my husband: “This is us”. We are so stereotypical. My fellow naysayer didn’t disagree: “Yeah. It does make sense”.
Last week, I told Edie I wanted a minivan. She replied, “Didn’t you just say you’d never drive one?”
“Never say never,” and I pointed one out that I’d could actually, maybe see myself in.