No it isn’t. It totally isn’t. Because…
I drive a minivan.
I know this confession isn’t as earth-shattering or life-changing as an alcoholic making a statement at an AA meeting or an ex-heroin user spilling his guts at an…ex-heroin user meeting (where do they go, anyway?). But still. I feel the need to make the declaration anyway, if for no other reason than do deal with my issue—i.e. personal shame and sorrow—and move on. Sometimes, it’s the only way you can make amends with the vast disappointments in life. Sometimes, it’s the only way to cope.
So here goes. One more time. For those of you who might be suffering in silence as I have done for so many years now, and maybe just need a little reassurance that you’re not alone. (Picture me standing in front of a sparsely decorated room, biting my lip and nervously twisting my hands in front of me, metal folding chairs situated in semi-circle, lights dimmed so as not to embarrass the speaker. I take a deep breath, step up to the microphone, and…)
“I’m Amy. And I drive a minivan.”
And not just any minivan, either.
A stupid, eight-year-old minivan with old Junior Mints stuck to the floor of the interior, one missing head rest that I can’t find anywhere, a lone French fry that is ALWAYS lying on the carpet behind the driver’s seat no matter how many times I clean the dang car, and if that isn’t bad enough, yesterday my tire blew up. In my driveway. And someone came to change the tire, at least. But still.
Let me back up a bit to explain my minivan history.
Okay, so I’m backing up fourteen years, so bear with me. So fourteen years ago, I had a two-year-old son. And back then, in my new-Mom idiot brain, I reasoned that the coolest, most involved mothers I knew drove minivans. Absolutely all of them did (I knew exactly two). Anyway, after much pleading and begging and crying (On my husband’s part, not mine. That man.), we finally drove out of some lot I can’t remember with a white Plymouth Voyager minivan with built-in car seats. I was so happy. I was so cool. My son was strapped into his new seat, and I was two seconds away from buying myself a World’s Best Mom mug because I totally deserved it, and it was totally true.
I drove that van for four years. And then…then…as luck would have it, my in-laws wanted to get rid of their newly purchased blue Chrysler Town and Country minivan. It had swivel seats! A VHS player! It didn’t have leather seats, but that didn’t matter. Because it had sliding doors! A trunk that opened with the push of a button! This van was awesome! So incredibly cool!
They offered it up for cheap, so of course we bought it from them. By then we had three kids, and on a scale of 1 to 10 with the question being “Who looks like the best mom in the world?”, in my mind I was absolutely an 11. That van rocked.
But then eventually the air conditioner broke and we spent an entire Arkansas July driving around town with the windows rolled down, which is about as comfortable and makes almost as much sense as (I imagine) showing up to Hell with a cup of ice and a Japanese fan. Within three minutes of climbing in that darn van, we were all sweating and red-faced. Whatever nice breeze we felt in the beginning felt like someone was shoving a fresh-from-the-dryer pillow over our faces by the time we left our neighborhood. Hot. Suffocating. Unbearable. Get that stupid pillow off me.
So later that month, we sold it. Then we bought another van. This time we wound up with a Honda Odyssey. And it had a DVD player! And air conditioning that worked! With vents all through the car, not just the front! And it had leather seats! This van was awesome. The best minivan in the history of minivans.
It’s the same van I’m driving now.
I hate that stupid car.
I mean, really. Any time I’m feeling remotely good about myself (“You look alright in this outfit, I think you could pass for thirty”), all I have to do is walk up to my van to have that delusionment deflate right there in the grocery store parking lot.
I drive a minivan. Not a corvette. Not a splash of red on it anywhere, a.k.a. Prince and the Revolution style. I’ve been driving a minivan since before 1999, and I see no end to it yet. It’s one of my life’s greatest sorrows. It’s a crying shame that I’m still trying to wade through.
It’s also a fact of my sad existence that until my husband’s car is paid off next spring, I am stuck with this annoying, ugly, super-old van. Maybe for even longer. Because you know, it’s paid for. And I don’t relish the idea of starting all over again. Plus, we’ve made a lot of memories in that car.
I brought two kids home from the hospital in that car…I rushed one kid back to the hospital in that car…We’ve driven to the beach in that car…I’ve written books in that car…I taught my oldest son to drive in that car.
So now that I’m getting all reflective, maybe I like the van after all. Maybe I want to keep it. Maybe even after we buy a new one, I could store it in the third garage as a reminder of all the good times we’ve had in that minivan as a family.
Oh, who am I kidding? Tomorrow, I’m looking for the title, just to keep it handy. Because in a few months, I’m ditching this car for the one I really want.
A Volvo wagon. Have you seen those things? The seats do a one-eighty, and the DVD player comes with a ten-inch screen. And those seat warmers…