Bozemama’s Bad Ride

January 17, 2013

Posted By: Bozemama

I had one of those awesome flash-before-your-eyes montages the other day when I climbed into my Toyota minivan and saw this on the odometer: 133,333. And there it was – BAM! A whole crazy series of vivid images from our life in that car over the last nine years flooded my mind and I suddenly became – yes, it’s true – a little verklempt. That’s a lot of miles we’ve driven together, a lot of ground covered, songs sung, diapers changed, meals eaten (and spilled), jokes told, bumpers dented, tears shed, babies nursed, boogers picked (and smeared), outfits changed and (don’t tell anyone) pee-pees peed.

Before I get all weepy and nostalgic, I need to make one thing very clear: I am not a minivan hater, I am a minivan lover. I know, I know. For some parents, buying the minivan and all that it signifies, is akin to just giving up on ever being cool/fun/hot/fast/wild again and therefore kind of like shriveling up and dying an early death clinging to the automatic sliding door opener that comes with the key ring.

But not for me. I could not wait to get my mommy ass into a minivan! I was pregnant with our second child and desperate for the center console thing-y with the cup holders and compartments and those remote automatic doors and the stowaway seats in the back that just fold down and disappear, basically giving you a romper room in the back of your car – oh my god, the possibilities . . . road trips, tailgates, massive shopping sprees, all the promise that suburban American parenting holds.

And I was not disappointed. (Well, except for when the automatic sliding door finally croaked after enduring four years of misuse and abuse by Charlie and his overzealous toddler pals. I shed a tear that day; I did.)

But our beloved minivan has delivered the goods. It took us up and down the I-95 corridor for six years, from Connecticut to Virginia and Cape Cod; hauled us to summers on the lake in Northern Michigan; schlepped from Bozeman to Seattle and back again and – of course – delivered babies home from the hospital and to the first day of school. Now I’m getting misty-eyed, are you?

I mean, I don’t know about all you mamas and papas and your family vehicle, but Mini (as we like to call her) is our home on wheels. After all these years, we have now got her perfectly outfitted with blankets, first aid kits, snacks, toiletries, school supplies, a garbage can, maps, and – because we love her so much – cleaning supplies. My mom always told me that, “A clean car is a happy car.” And, now that I have tested this theory, I think it’s true. The kids and I just love getting down in those crazy crevices with the vacuum at Scrubby’s and we all breathe a simultaneous sigh of pleasure and relief when we emerge from the car wash sparkling and pretty. We figure that if we take care of Mini, then she’ll take care of us. Now we're aiming for 266,666. Wish us luck.

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