Why we need a minivan

I vowed, years ago, that I would never become a minivan mom. Yes, I wanted children. Yes, I wanted to be a mom. But I was going to be a cool mom. I wasn’t going to wear mom clothes and have mom hair and let my body go to seed. I was going to be me, just with children. I’d fit the car seat into the back of my Mustang somehow. My parents never had a four-door car, and I did just fine, thank you very much.


Then I got pregnant. Getting my belly into the driver’s seat was a challenge. I wasn’t entirely sure how I was supposed to load a newborn into the back without strangling one of us on the seat belt. I began to realize that a four-door was in my future.


I researched, and stewed, and researched some more. Finally, I settled on a Mazda. It wasn’t a sexy car, but at least it had decent pickup. And a grill that makes it look like it’s smiling. I like the idea of a happy car. Okay, I thought. Mom car achieved. I don’t need no stinkin’ minivan.


As the years passed, I began to reluctantly accept that four doors were easier than two when you have a little person. And then I had a second child. Space got tighter, but we all still fit. We can squeeze me, R, both kids, their car seats, my backpack/purse/diaper bag/survival gear kit, a stroller, and various snacks, beverages, and toys into this car, and still find room for the spoils of a small grocery shopping trip.


Then, the other night, we took the kids to the drive-in. We’d been the year before, when Kai was a newborn, but he was little and breastfed the entire time. Watching a movie with two children, rather than one child and one baby, was a whole other ballgame.


The first mistake we made was taking them to see a grown-up movie. We’d planned on Finding Dory, but Dory had been bumped to the 11:45 slot. Neither Anya nor R wanted to see BFG. R and I wanted to see the new Independence Day, and Anya thought she did, too. She was wrong, of course. She ended up getting creeped out by it, but not overly so. Mostly she was bored. She doesn’t like movies with real people in them.


Then there was the logistics of watching the movie. For many reasons, but mostly comfort (it’s awfully hot and humid here, even at night) and confinement (because small children), we stay in the car to watch the movie. We thought that, as we had in years past, we could just pile into the front seat to do this. But there’s more of us now, and the front seat isn’t getting any bigger. And I began to think that maybe a minivan would be…nice.


R and I were stepped upon, elbowed, and smacked in the face as the children jockeyed for position to hang out the sunroof, mash the dashboard buttons, and yank on the steering wheel and the gearshift. The children kicked each other, kicked themselves, fussed and cried. At any given moment, they desperately needed something that was buried under the mound of gear in the back seat.


And then Kai got gassy, and ish got real. R finally had to take him outside and walk him to sleep, missing 20 minutes of the movie in the process. He asked me about it when he got back in. But I couldn’t answer his questions, because I’d been too busy putting Anya to sleep. I had to Google a plot synopsis when we got home just to understand what I’d seen. And if I want to really appreciate the story, I’m going to have to watch the movie again without them. (That’s okay. I wasn’t that impressed with it.) Though it was nice to see Bill Pullman again. Crazy beard and all.


But as we do enjoy our drive-in tradition, we are going to have to think seriously about a minivan.

I guess I am that kind of mom.



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