Stop kissing the minivan

Oh, the memories...
Oh, the memories…

My husband and I were discussing the possibility of selling my minivan and getting a newer vehicle when my son, who will be 6 in a couple of weeks, overheard us.

“Are you talking about the van? You’re talking about selling the van? You can’t sell the van. I love that van. Don’t sell the vaaaaaaaaaaan!”

Then he cried for a half hour. Real tears, little bony shoulders shaking, eyebrows raised into a perfect triangle above his eyes, what has become his ultimate expression of concern. I had to promise that we’d take plenty of pictures and a video of the van before we sold it.

Truth be told, I love my van too. I used to make fun of people who drove minivans and thought I was superior to them in all ways. In fact, I pretty much felt like that about people with kids in general, never imagining that I’d be one someday. My husband and I didn’t want kids until the day I changed my mind (then changed his).

The economy collapsed the year my son was born and our personal economy shortly thereafter. 9 months after he was born I was pregnant again and we sold my vehicle for the extra money. I remember my son’s 1st birthday party. I was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering from morning sickness but I worried that I wasn’t feeling sick enough. I’d had a miscarriage before and since I hadn’t reached that imaginary “safe” 12 week mark, I’d pinch my nipples to make sure they hurt (ouch, yup, still pregnant). We had just found out that my husband’s company couldn’t pay him anymore there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I tried to shove it all down as my son shoveled cake in his face with his chubby hand. Life felt like a runaway train.

We weren’t able to get another vehicle until my daughter was a few months old.  That little minivan was a gateway to a bigger life. It meant I could take my kids to the park, run errands and take them to the doctor. No, it wasn’t tricked out with latest features but I could be part of the real world again, which if you have 2 kids under the age of 2, is both terrifying and liberating. My biggest fear back then was both kids crying in the mall at the same time. The fact that I couldn’t afford to buy anything at the mall was a small thing in the big picture. I had my van. We had so much compared to others. It was hard to complain.

We’ve tried to cultivate stability in our kids’ lives by keeping them mostly oblivious to the uncertainty we’ve been through these last few years but this year change hit our son hard. We had to remove him from kindergarten a week after it started because we realized we made a huge mistake with the school we chose.

My son is not good with uncertainty and change.  He keeps the boxes to every Lego set he’s ever received. He cries when I give away his old clothes. He still reminisces about a broken garbage truck I threw away when he was 2. “Oh, I wish you didn’t throw it away. I need a hug.”

Starting kindergarten the first time was hard enough. It took weeks of preparation for him to settle into the idea. Having to start a totally different school a few days later was gut wrenching for all of us. But, somehow, he found the courage to face it and did an amazing job transitioning and starting new. Maybe he’s been paying attention to the way his parents roll with the punches. Or maybe it was that the new school had chickens. Either way, I’m confident that he’ll get through this latest uncertainty with the van.

“Kiddo, what are you doing?”

“Muah. Muah. I’m kissing the van.”

We can only hope.

23 thoughts on “Stop kissing the minivan

  1. I still love the van. My kids are 9 and 11 and I’m thinking of getting a new one. I can’t believe this one had made it almost 10 years.
    I love the convenience of taking extra kids, of cargo space, of power sliding doors.
    My van has heated seats, DVD player, etc. I’m not sure I can give up convenience for perception.
    After all, who’s really checking out 42 year old me with 2 kids in tow?!? And why do I need to impress them anyway?
    The van might just win again.


  2. “I remember my son’s 1st birthday party. I was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering from morning sickness but I worried that I wasn’t feeling sick enough. I’d had a miscarriage before and since I hadn’t reached that imaginary “safe” 12 week mark…”

    I’m sure you understand why This was the part that touched me most.
    I didn’t know.
    I’m sorry.

    Thank you for continuing to write from the heart.
    That and you are a blessing to us all.

    With blessings,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Dani, I absolutely know that you understand. I spent my whole pregnancy being afraid of one thing or another. My mom had a stillborn baby before I was born and that haunted me at the end of my pregnancy when I was being monitored 3 times a week and she wouldn’t move inside me. So much fear. We risk so much just by being alive, then we take it further by putting our hearts on the line and throwing ourselves into living to the fullest. No wonder God loves us so much. Blessings to you, sweet Dani!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that kid!!! Like you, I didn’t think I would ever want a minivan, but I adore mine. And you bring up one of the reasons it doesn’t bite as bad as you think it will…it is a gateway. It does make life easier when you have kids. What a sweet story. Good luck car shopping!

    Oh, and did you ever see the music video I made about our minivan? I think your son would like it 🙂


    1. I’ve been all over your site and I don’t know how I missed that video! That is absolutely hilarious! I’m going to show it to my husband. If I show it to my son, he might fall in love with our van more, or want me to upgrade to one with automatic doors. I might also have to explain why the van is bouncing after you and your husband get in the back. 😉 Your kids are adorable and such good sports!


        1. What we’re thinking of doing now is me taking my husband’s Navigator and he’ll get a 4-door Jeep (the vehicle I used to drive before we had to sell it). I never liked driving the Navigator when the kids couldn’t get themselves in but now they’re pros, so I think it’ll work. Definitely a step up in the luxury department!


          1. Definitely!!! And doesn’t like completely change when kids can finally get themselves in and out of cars? It’s so great. My husband would be so jealous of the jeep. When we got the minivan, he got the hand-me-down car, which is a Chevy Malibu. Boring four door sedan. We are planning on having a lot of good years with the van, so he is next up to get a new car. He has never gotten to drive the new car, because both times the purchases were made as upgrades to the “family car,” which I always drive. Poor guy deserves some new car action.

            Hopefully your son will soon realize what a fancy car he gets to drive in now…ladies like the luxury 🙂


            1. It would be nice if every family could have a family car and a fun car. My poor husband has these fantasies of taking the top off the Jeep and us driving around town. Unfortunately, he has 2 kids and a wife who don’t like to get their hair messed up! If I can get used to parking the Navigator, I’ll be content. 🙂


  4. Ha! Vans do grow on you don’t they? We had two (in a row not at the same time) and they were awesome. Not a lot of sex appeal but built to handle whatever a family could throw at them. Kind of like putting the family room on wheels. Neat post Karen.


    1. A family room on wheels…that’s exactly it! My van doesn’t have a DVD player but we blast the Frozen soundtrack so it still feels like home. And, there’s just as much dog hair inside as there is in our family room! Thanks Paul!


  5. Why am I crying? I don’t have a single hormonal drop in my body anymore and suddenly today, it’s at the drop of a hat.
    I think it was the mention of your sweet son, visualizing the eyebrow arch and empathizing with your earlier worry about not enough morning sickness and too much economic uncertainty. All issues that have crossed, graced and blessed my own family’s path. It’s a comfort knowing someone else thinks about these things. A comfort to see someone like you write about it with such grace and gratitude and resilience.
    Deep breath. I’m gonna go kiss my little Chevy truck. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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