Goodbye minivan


Last week, we got a new car. It’s going to replace our old car, which is a minivan. We’ve had a minivan for about 14 years. We got one when I was pregnant with our twins, who made us a family of six. At that point, we really had little other choice that would fit all of us, be very safe and not break the bank.

It’s not like I had a crazy, sports car driving youth or anything, but I did kinda regret turning in our fairly zippy Audi station wagon for a Toyota Sienna. I fumbled with the new-fish tethers anchored to the car when installing four carseats. We marveled at the fold down screen so the kids could watch DVDs in the back and there were so many cup holders!

We had a lot of adventures in that car. That one time when I though I heard a giant soda spilling in the back seat and it turned out someone had vomited. The other time when I backed into the garage door and the windshield shattered. The minivan and my garage door seemed to do a lot of touching over the years.

But now, like Mary Poppins, the wind has changed and we don’t need our minivan anymore, so it’s going to blow away. Well, actually, it’s sitting on my driveway right now, displaced from its spot in the garage by our new car. I’ll turn it back into the dealer one of these days right after I remember to donate those bags of clothes that have been riding around in the back of the van for months.

So what did we grow out of? We don’t need the DVD player any more. Of course everyone has their own device with which to play the media they prefer (though there are never quite enough ear buds to go around).

We don’t have car seats any more, and the little children who used to sit in them seem to be all long legs and big feet, occupying the space where I used to be able to store a bag packed with snacks.

We don’t need those snacks, which have been peeled, unstuck, vacuumed and, often, just left as part of the general decor over the years. Early on we banned chewing gum, and added to the list of contraband raisins, sugary drinks, chocolate (so melty!) and glitter. Apart from the latter, all were copiously consumed in the van on the regular. The glitter is avoided 99 percent of the time, except that one time we sat in glitter while crafting at a girl scout event, and then transferred it to the seats of the car. They still sparkle, months later.

We have definitely outgrown the safety windows that only roll down a little more than half way. The kids have already had much more success hailing their friends (?) from the open back seat window.

This new car has seating for six, but the truth is, we are not often all in the car together. My oldest is off to college in the fall, and her brother already has his learner’s permit and a host of social commitments that take him away from some family events. The twins now fight over the front seat most of the time, because it’s just the three of us in the car.

The point is, we are getting old and growing apart. The van was never something I wanted, but in the end it represented a time that we could corral all of us together, pop in a Simpsons DVD and hit the road. But that’s been a rarity for a while now.
The good news is, the new car is pretty cool. It has all of the bells and whistles the minivan, maddeningly (even though we leased a new one each year) never cared for. This one has more outlets for the phone chargers than seatbelts (though less cup holders, which I’m still grappling with). It has that neat feature where you just wave your foot under the back bumper of the car and the back lift gate door opens like magic. The seats are heated AND cooled (just in time for menopause!)