Why I love and hate our minivan and everything it symbolizes

In the past six months since we bought our Honda Odyssey, I am embarrassed to admit that I have gotten into no less than three accidents, none of which involved other cars.

Someone recently remarked, "Wow, you must not be used to driving such a big car." It may seem obvious, but it wasn't until my friend mentioned the size of the minivan that I realized, yes, that may be the reason I, #1, kept crashing into the side of my parents' garage as I tried to squeeze the van in next to my mom's bad parking job of their equally giant Buick LeSabre, and #2, badly scraped the other side of the van going through the CVS drive-through while picking up my daughter's eczema prescription. And honestly, I am not joking when I say that I cannot even remember what accident #3 was.

Other than the size, which I clearly have been oblivious to, I do love this minivan and freely admit that I had been requesting it for the past year or maybe even longer. I also admit that I specifically asked for a DVD player in the hopes that it would result in less squabbling between HJ & Lila, especially considering that some days I'm certain we spend more time in the car than at home.

Of course, I also didn't realize at the time that the DVD could also be the source of so many new sources of conflict, as in which DVD to watch, Doc McStuffins, Clifford, or Peppa Pig, or even worse, which episode on the DVD to watch, or what volume to keep the DVD on, etc, etc... About one week into having our minivan, I realized I had made a huge mistake in ignoring many other parents' wise words and still insisting on that DVD player.

And yes, I do love the sliding doors, the seats that fold down in the back, the fact that I can actually participate in carpools and drive my parents and sister around with the kids. Yes, I love all the conveniences that the minivan promises and delivers on.

But no, I really do not love how much gas it takes, or the fact that I have completely succumbed to the suburban stereotype of a soccer mom who does not even have children who play soccer, and the fact that I park my minivan in the Target parking lot at 8:30 a.m. in the morning next to three other identical silver Honda Odysseys and cannot even remember which one is mine when I come out of Target because two other identical minivans have also parked right next to me.

Of course, now my minivan has the distinguishing features of being scraped and dented on not one, but both sides, so I don't think I will be having that problem anymore. Clearly, I know that we could get it fixed, but part of me does not want to spend the money considering I will probably be crashing into the side of something or another in the near future again.

I just wonder if it is my subconscious deliberately rebelling against the purchase of this giant symbol of suburban parenthood, which yes, again I acknowledge I specifically wanted and chose. After all, at the age of 36, with two kids, living in a suburban cul-de-sac and being a mostly stay-at-home mom these days, this is who I am. Maybe it's just time to embrace it. We'll see if our minivan survives through the end of the year before I drive it into the ground.

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Filed under: General Parenting

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