I get asked all the time, “How do you like your minivan?” and I often respond with, “How much time do you have because I LOVE it?” What’s not to love?
Even with only having one child thus far, we aren’t a “travel light” kind of family. During the first four months of our son’s life, we spent a lot of time on the road visiting extended family so that everyone could meet him before we moved to Baton Rouge. Holy cow do babies need a lot of stuff! We packed it all up and hit the road with such little room to spare that I wonder if we could have made it in a car or SUV.
Can I haul it? Yes, I can! Okay, I can’t haul everything that a pickup truck can haul, but it’s close. Our proudest minivan hauling moment was getting a 7-ft dining room table and six chairs home. I don’t ever want to do something like that again, but we did it!
About once a week, my son turns on me in the parking lot of a store and absolutely refuses to get into his car seat. He clings to the side of the door as if he’s about to fall into a pit of alligators. In a regular car, this would no doubt mean that we’re slamming our car door into someone else’s car. With the minivan, neighboring cars can still get out of their spots (while watching our toddler parking lot drama go down) and we don’t have to worry whether or not we’re going to have to foot the bill for someone else’s dinged up car.
Since we don’t have any family in Baton Rouge, and we’re not within driving distance of any of them, we make a lot of trips to the airport. Our minivan allows all of us to go to the airport to greet our guests, and still have enough room for all them and their luggage. There is something so sweet about seeing my son greet his relatives at the airport, and I’m thankful to be able to witness that interaction.
On cooler days, we roll down the windows in our minivan parked in the garage and my son loves walking back and forth between the front seats and the trunk. It’s an activity that keeps him entertained for 20 minutes at a time, contains him, and allows me sit down for a few minutes. In toddlerland, that’s a win!
We even celebrate our minivan’s birthday. It sounds crazy, I know, but let me explain. Upon finding out we would be having a baby, we decided to surrender any “cool points” we had and invest in the minivan. Five-and-a-half weeks before our son’s due date, and after extensive research and negotiations, we found ourselves at a dealership late one night signing the papers for our new minivan. As we drove off the lot at 10 p.m., completely starving, we swung through a McDonald’s on our way home. Thinking I would be able to take all of my co-workers to lunch in one vehicle the next day, we went to bed. However, our first trip in our minivan was early the next morning to the hospital to have our son. Surprise! If there was ever an object that perfectly encapsulated parenthood, it’s the minivan. Our minivan didn’t just bring us into parenthood, it catapulted us into parenthood. Now, every year on the eve of our son’s birthday, we pick up McDonald’s to celebrate what was unknowingly our start to parenthood, something so much better than we could have ever expected. However, we do anticipate that the eyeroll from our son will only get more dramatic with each retelling of the night before he was born.
While they don’t work for everyone, our minivan works so well for us and will be an integral part of the memories we make in the years to come. In fact, we like it so much that my husband and I have talked about whether we could start a minivan movement; a special minivan wave. When you’re driving down the road and you pass another minivan, you wave, but on your waving hand, you also you hold up the number of fingers of kids you are towing in the back. Minivan camaraderie — it could catch on, right?