I knew I had to marry him, I just didn’t want to.
Everything about him screamed practical, boring and totally uncool. But I had just given birth to my third child two weeks earlier, and I was desperate.
I looked at my current partner. He was sleek and showy, with the right amount of casual ruggedness. When we were together, we created this fabulous picture of a hip family on the go. But he betrayed me. Like that too slick guy that just doesn’t live up to his boastful promises of wanting to be a family man, he couldn’t handle three kids.
Or really, our three car seats couldn’t fit across the back seat.
Yes, my SUV had to go.
The only practical solution my husband and I reached: I had to get a Mini-Van.
(You may wonder why we never tried to put three seats across the back until AFTER the third child was born. I ask myself that question all the time. Or really, I ask my husband that question, since he’s the one who kept saying “Of course they’ll fit!”)
The next week was a blur. I was trying to wrangle a newborn, three-year-old and five-year-old while searching car ads for mini vans. And we had to unload the SUV at the same time. Thanks to some bartering, dealer fast talk and sheer desperation, we traded our swanky SUV in for a barely used mini van. A week later, my new man rolled up the driveway. He was metallic blue with running boards(!) and a rear spoiler (!!). No sunroof. Nothing I would have picked. But it was done, the papers were signed. We were a new couple. Like an arranged marriage, we sized each other up, and realized we had to make it work. For the sake of the kids.
When friends without vans (FWV) heard the news, they were horrified. They murmured things like, “It’ll be ok.” “You won’t have it forever” and “You don’t have to drive it ALL the time.” I had always told myself, I was never going to be a “Mini-Van Mom” or MVM. Whatever that means. Where does that stigma come from? One woman said to me, “People will think you’ve surrendered!” Surrendered to what? The fact I have kids? Um, cat’s out of the bag. I have three. Surrendered my youth or cool factor? I still like a pair of good high heels and a strong gimlet.
Except I don’t have to sweat and struggle to fold seats forward and back to put 3 small children in car seats.
I can press a button and my side door automatically opens. Justlikethat.
When I go to the PotteryBarn Outlet, I can fit a new dresser, three kitchen stools and a floor mirror. In my van.
At tailgate parties, the van holds large coolers of adult beverages, salsa/chips and cocktail shrimp with plenty of room for a nap in the backseat.
I don’t need a clam-top riding on the roof to carry extra belongings for the summer vacation, they all fit inside.
See? He may have been awkward and not the most attractive guy in the beginning. But he’s made my life easier . And that’s why I’m not ashamed to say, I fell madly in love with my mini van. So I drive my crew with pride, rear spoiler and all. And even got a few admiring glances the other day from a carload of teens that pulled up next to me. It was either the van, or the classic Beastie Boys I was blaring on the stereo.