Ladies & Gentlemen,
I hereby announce that I will have to eat crow. For years I have teased and derided my mommy friends who, one by one, have caved to the minivan craze. Never! I told them. I will never drive a minivan. I cannot be that person. I will never be THAT MOM. Well. Just goes to show you that you should never say never.
For years I have been saying that we don't need a minivan. There's nothing it could do for a family of four that our trusty Outback couldn't handle. Until now, that has been absolutely true. Faced with the prospect of becoming a family of five (seven if you count the fur children) and faced with the prospect of roadtripping from Kansas to Savannah several times in the next few months, not to mention the future roadtrips all up and down the east coast... it didn't take me very long to see the writing on the wall.
Yes, it IS possible to fit three car seats across in many vehicles, including the ones we own, and yes, we could have done that. But then add in the dogs and the luggage and the grownups and the desire to be able to pick up other people's children from school or have everyone fit into one car when visitors are in town, and you are left with very few options.
I briefly considered getting an SUV or, as they now seem to be called, a crossover just so I wouldn't have to say I drive a minivan. But on all fronts, the minivans rate better: better fuel economy, better safety ratings, and they are much cheaper. I couldn't forego all that just for the sake of my pride.
So, last week, it happened. My husband got his "second wish," as getting something you really, really want is called in our family. (I'll have to tell you that story another time.) For well over eight years the man has been secretly and not-so-secretly lusting after the minivans. I tell you it takes a man who has a deeply rooted sense of his own manhood to lust after a minivan. Every time we would borrow my parents' minivan or on the occasions when we had to rent one The Gutsy Dad has been eager for me to love it as much as he does, grinning over at me in the passenger's seat, his hands proudly on the steering wheel as if to say, Now isn't this just sooooo nice?
When I gave him the green light, it happened quickly. There was market research conducted amongst our minivan driving friends, in parking lots at the gym and the preschool, over lunch with colleagues, before and after seminars, with complete strangers at the grocery store. There were late night surfing sessions devoted to Consumer Reports and Carmax and Edmunds. And then, within days, there was a brand, spanking, new minivan sitting in our garage.
It appeared over night. In the morning, the Gutsy Dad took the kids out into the garage to show them the new wheels. The first words out of Madelyn's mouth? "Oh, Mommy, you got dore Mommy-Van." (dore=your.) This immediately harkened back to the day when I was shopping with Jillson when she was two and she cried out, "Oh, look, Mommy! Vacuums! Your favorite!"
Nevertheless, I tried not to cringe (especially because I already liked the damn thing) and I just responded with a "Yes. Mommy got a van."
Yours in all humbleness,
The Gutsy Mom
PS: There is nothing mini about a minivan. The thing is a boat, no matter how sexy my husband thinks it is.