My name is Becca, and I drive a minivan.
My journey toward the inevitable mom-mobile began six years ago. We bought a house on a hill, a shingled cottage with window boxes and a curved front door that we call the Hobbit door. I loved that little house and on that beautiful hill until winter came — with its ice and snow — and my idyll was shattered: there was no way I could get up that damned hill without four-wheel drive.
Several times I wedged our spunky little red Corolla at the bottom of the driveway and had to rely on husband J. and a team of neighbor men bearing snow shovels to come to my rescue. (I think they kind of liked it.)
We sold the Toyota to a hill-less friend and I bought a tangerine-colored Honda Element. the boxiness of it that appealed to me. It was funky yet practical and so ugly it was cute, like a bulldog or Keen shoes.
Not long after, J.’s car — a thirteen-year old Subaru wagon with a gerjillion miles on it — began its death throes. The “check engine” light wouldn’t go out. Blue smoke roiled from the exhaust. The sides were rusting away. Filling up the tank felt like an iffy investment.
We knew we wanted a third-row seat, and we narrowed it down to two possibilities before we embarked on our car-shopping day. Our first choice was a — well, I won’t say. But it was a great car. It was (like the Element) boxy, a little quirky yet “nicely appointed.” There was nothing wrong with it, except the third-row seat.
To access it, one must collapse the second-row seat upon itself, slide it forward, then climb awkwardly over it, landing with a relieved “OOF!” onto the third seat. Could I imagine asking either of my kids to perform this maneuver every single day? No.
Onto option #2: the minivan.
The minivan (along with the sensible haircut, PTA meetings and The Mom Voice) seems to be a right-of-passage for many women with kids. Yes, it’s practical and economical. And predictable. It’s a cliche, and nobody really wants to be a cliche, or at least I didn’t.
Then I drove the thing. And it was good: Bluetooth, rear camera, built-in DVD player, sun roof, auto doors on both sides and in the back, and the kids can get in and out without risking injury. The heated leather seat cups me gently, like King Kong holding Fay Wray.
But the best part? A couple weeks ago I fit an entire sofa in the back. (Why hello, Craigslist. How YOU doin’?)
Yes, I’m a cliche. I can fight it no longer.
I drive a mini-van.
But it is not beige.