I was sitting at my son’s hight school football game a few weeks ago and someone brought up the fact that they used to own a minivan. Suddenly, everyone around us chimed in with, “We did, too.” As I looked around at my friends (none of which drive minivans now) and thought of the cars I’d owned, I began to see a pattern.
My first car was a clunker hand me down that broke down in the high school parking lot on more than one occasion. My college car was a slightly nicer car that I wrecked by not yielding at a yield sign and it stayed wrecked until I traded it in after getting married. My first married car was a two-door sports car with a manual transmission. While that was fun, and a big improvement over my last car, sitting in rush hour traffic with a clutch wasn’t any fun at all.
Car number four was a four-door sedan we purchased during the family planning stage. It was a car, just a car, but it had an automatic transmission (thank you!) and got good gas mileage. Then came the dreaded minivan.
Yes, I had a child, and yes, I knew lots of people who drove one, but darn it, I wasn’t supposed to be one of them! I soon came to realize why everyone drove minivans. I loved the minivan’s sliding doors because, let’s face it, those infant carseats are heavy. We enjoyed taking the minivan to UGA football games where we’d pack all our friends and gear into the van for a comfortable ride to Athens. We tailgated like kings by taking the seats out and lounging around the grill in style. Speaking of taking the seats out, boy could we pack a ton of stuff into the minivan when the seats were removed. The thing was a veritable moving van.
And then my husband traded in the minivan and I was sad. Yes, I felt much cooler in my SUV, but it was hard getting the kids into their carseats. And the doors didn’t slide. “Watch the doors,” became my new catchphrase, because the under-ten crowd doesn’t care if they ding the car next to them.
Now I’m ready to size down and trade in my SUV for a comfortable sedan. According to the predictable pattern of car ownership, I’ll soon be driving a Lincoln Towncar and eating dinner at four. It’s kind of depressing to look back and note a predictable pattern of life played out through my vehicle purchases. Perhaps I’ll surprise everyone–including myself–and trade the SUV in on a convertible. But…why break a good streak?
How about you, WU? Any predictable patterns in your life?
Really, I do. For the past seventeen years, I’ve been navigating suburbia in the quintessential ride of soccer mom’s everywhere: the stylish minivan. Yep. Seventeen. Years. Not all in the same minivan, mind you. I upgraded nine years ago to the then-Rolls Royce of minivans, the Chrysler Town and Country Limited Edition. Complete with on-board entertainment, heated leather seats, a moon roof and five doors that open automatically with the touch of the key fob. (Those automatic doors were a must-have after driving preschool carpool for two years.)
I’m going to go on record here and say I love my minivan. I really do. It’s just that I’ve reached middle age and, well, I want something a little snazzier. My kids can drive themselves now and they’d much prefer to drive anywhere without me. Unless it’s to the mall. Then they are happy to have my credit cards—I mean me—accompany them.
Unfortunately, my minivan hasn’t outlived its usefulness. Did you know an entire dorm room of crap can fit into that vehicle if you take the seats out? It’s also the perfect changing station at a horse show, not to mention it can fit all the tack and my daughter’s trunk on board. And then there’s tailgating. What’s not to love about the on-board table? All are important things to consider when deciding whether to purchase new wheels.
Worse, I can’t find a car that I want. My minivan has become as comfortable as the worn, leather recliner in my family room and I loathe parting with either. Sure, a convertible would be nice, but I’d only hate myself in ten years when I’m battling skin cancer. The purr of a German engine is enticing, but do I really want to waste all that gasoline?
So, I’ll spend another summer with my ride doubling as a mini-barn (yes, there’s an ‘n’ on the end of that word!) until I can decide what I want. It’s actually a good thing, too, because I’m about to spend all my car money for horse power of a different kind.
Meet Tessa, my daughter’s new ride. Yep, I’m a sucker. But her show name is Game On, so Mama wins either way.
So what are you driving?