Friday, January 28, 2011

The GREAT MINIVAN DEBATE of

 ‘Are Minivans Cool or Not?’

Have you ever seen those new Honda Odyssey commercials? The ones where the father is at the
24 hr grocery store picking up milk?
As he is leaving the store, the sleek black Odyssey’s doors magically slide open and rock and roll music is blaring from inside the van.  He is mesmerized, and practically drooling, at the sight of this sexy mini-van.
How about the one where the couple is apparently out on a date when  they look up from talking and there is a red carpet, some rose petals spread on the ground, candles are lit and music is playing romantically inside of the van, as the doors begin to open; inviting them into a sensual get-a-way.
Those commercials are so cute and I assume that this is Honda’s way to entice new car shoppers to purchase their mini-van; hoping that if they deem the Odyssey attractive and adult-like, more people will buy them.
Clever…but they still don’t make me want one.
I am not a minivan mom…I have never really had a taste for minivans. I have always driven regular cars, or trucks instead.
But, what do you do when you need to fit three car seats in a vehicle, and they do not fit straight across the back seat of your present one?
Well, you either buy a passenger van, a BIG SUV or a minivan…Grrrrrr.
This is what happened to me when I had my third child.
Our current vehicle was not large enough to fit three-kids-wide. They were all under the age of 7 and needed car seats or boosters. Putting them across the back seat of our Jeep Cherokee was nearly impossible; we tested it out several times before the third one actually arrived and no-can- do. I panicked; we couldn’t fit the newborn seat, the booster and the toddler car seat together without covering up seat belts.
So, I began the search for a new vehicle, not actually new, just new to me.
I loved the Volvo wagon, but I kept bumping my head every time I leaned down to buckle little ones in (and I am 5’1”-imagine that). I tried the suburban; it was too big and too much money and guzzled too much gas for me at the time to be practical. Next was the Pacifica. Nope, too small and too much climbing into the back seat over the middle seat. Sigh.
I was getting tired…(no, I was not yet ready for that minivan.)
I then found an older style Dodge Durango. My husband at the time worked for Dodge, it was a good product and it wasn’t a minivan or any of the other things I had tried.
I loved it!
It had a truck quality, which I loved, but held 7 passengers.
You could fold down all the seats to get massive cargo space and it was fun and spacious. It was for me!
I used and abused that truck with kids. We drove it to so many states and I even used it to help me move some loads from Connecticut to Ohio when I relocated.
130,000 miles later, when the kids got bigger, I was divorced, moved out of my house into an apartment, and moved from the country to the city; I needed to downsize. I was not going to the dump weekly anymore, gardening in the summer, or tackling 12-24 inches of snow down my  150’ driveway every winter.  I needed less brawn, better gas mileage but still needed some space and versatility because I had kids.
(No, I was still was not ready for the minivan.)
So, I tried the Ford Edge, the Mazda CX7 and the Equinox.  And none of them appealed to me.
Then I finally found it!
My Dodge Magnum station wagon!
My wagon is not like our father’s station wagon, and it’s not a minivan….I’m just not a minivan mom.
Or am I?
Because on any given day, you can find:
         Hand sanitizer
Umbrellas
Matchbox cars on the floor
A church bulletin
Chewing gum
Tissues (some used)
Wipes
Band aids
Children’s music
Two child safety seats J
Tennis rackets for the spring
Beach buckets and shovels for the summer
A football for fall (or winter, depending on the day)
And sleds for winter
One of my kids’ school bumper sticker is on our car window, and until recently (when some fell off) we had family stick people magnets on the back lift gate, complete with pets.

I go to all of my son’s football games to cheer and coach him, I chaperon field trips, bake cupcakes and help out at school holiday parties and I volunteer with the PTA.
So I guess just because I don’t drive a minivan, doesn’t mean that I’m not a great mom.
Likewise, just because a parent does drive a minivan, doesn’t mean they're not cool. ;)
The moral of this silly little story?
You cannot judge a mommy by her minivan.
J
 Truly,
Amber

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