Ode to the minivan

By Published On: October 11th, 2016

Growing up my mom drove a minivan. I played traveling […]

Growing up my mom drove a minivan. I played traveling soccer, so we spent a lot of time in the car, driving to games and tournaments. I am old, so the minivans of my youth came with wood paneling on the sides and only one sliding door. It never really dawned on me that minivans weren’t cool until I got older. When my mom bought her second minivan I was in high school. I desperately wanted her to get an SUV but she was dead-set on another minivan. It was then that I vowed that I would never own a minivan of my own. Never. Not ever. Nope. It wasn’t going to happen. I was going to the a cool mom who drove a cool SUV. I had it all figured out.

minivanFast forward 13 years, and I was the proud owner of a minivan. 

Because it turns out that I’m not cool. I’m a mom in my 30s with four kids. No one looks at me and thinks I’m cool but then changes their mind when they find out that I have a minivan. It doesn’t happen. And I’m OK with it. As my husband so eloquently put it: “A minivan is not a car you buy because you’re hoping to sleep with someone; a minivan is a car you buy because you slept with someone.”

So there you have it, kids. Don’t practice unsafe sex, or the next thing you know, you’ll own a minivan. That’s a solid Public Service Announcement if ever I’ve issued one.

So we had the minivan for like four years. And it was amazing. It was not cool. But it was amazing. There is a very important difference there.

The doors on the minivan just slide open with the press of a button. They don’t swing out wide and smash into the car next to you when either the wind is blowing or the 5-year-old is a little overanxious to get out of the car. There’s room for everyone and everything. And with the bucket seats in the middle row, flailing arms can’t strike undeserving (or even deserving) siblings. It’s the ultimate NO TOUCHING car. The trunk space is amazing. The back seats? They just fold right down. Easy-peasy. You can load five people, a double stroller and luggage for a long weekend in that bad boy and still have room to spare. The minivan is a road-tripping machine. We once drove from our house to Disneyland (over 500 miles) and only had to stop once for gas. Fuel mileage efficiency. BOOM!

But we live in the Wild West. Where it snows. And sometimes we have to tow a trailer. And the old minivan doesn’t come in 4-wheel drive (we didn’t want all-wheel drive) and it’s not so much meant for towing. So before Baby No. 4 joined us, we said goodbye to our minivan and welcomed a new, much cooler car into our lives: the Toyota Sequoia.

The Sequoia is pretty cool. It sits way up high and has a great big motor. It’s definitely much, much cooler than a minivan. But you know what else? It’s so wide that once I parked in a parking spot (both myself and all the cars around me were parked properly in the middle of the spaces), and I was unable to open the back door wide enough to get the baby’s car seat out. And I can either bring a stroller with me or have all the seats up. But not both. Because the trunk is pretty tiny when the back seats are up. Honestly, sometimes I have to fold them down just to get the groceries in. It’s lame.

So, while I will not try to convince you that you’ll earn cool points for driving a minivan, I will tell you that I’m a little jealous of your sliding doors and massive trunk space. Oh, and for what it’s worth, I drive a “cool” SUV now, and I’m not at all cooler than I was when I drove the minivan.