From the time our first child joined our family, my husband has been advocating for us to replace our mid-sized SUV with a minivan. Neither of us are strangers to the minivan; when he was growing up, his family always drove minivans, and my parents drove a van for as long as I can remember. I suppose that my parents’ vehicle wasn’t a minivan though, it was just a van. A large one. That I may or may not have ducked down in when we passed the cool kids walking to or from school.
My husband wanted us to get a minivan for the additional storage. It makes complete sense for him to want this for at least two of his hobbies. He is a drummer and is regularly carting his drums around, and he is also into woodworking and carpentry. He has spent hours trying to convince me how helpful it would be if he could fit sheets of plywood and drywall in the van. Just think of the home renovations!
When we added another child to our family and ventured out for weekend trips, fitting two kids and all the luggage that goes with them became nearly impossible in our SUV. The conversations became more frequent about whether or not we should get a minivan.
In each and every one of these conversations, I always felt adamantly and passionately opposed to the idea. In one of the more recent conversations, I ended up in tears, begging him to drop this subject permanently and not make us get a minivan.
I reflected on my strong reaction and was baffled. Why was this such a big deal to me?! It made sense for us to get a minivan on many levels, but I just couldn’t do it.
I remember the day we test drove our SUV. We weren’t intending to drive that one; it was out of our price range and much fancier than what we were looking for, but when I sat down and closed the door in that car, I KNEW. It sounds silly because it’s a car, but I knew that was the SUV for us. Everything about it felt right. Then there was a price reduction, and another, and another. Soon it was in our price range and we went for it! We bought it before we had kids, and I have loved it every single day since.
The more I thought about it, I realized that I didn’t want to replace that SUV because doing so would feel like giving up the last pieces of ME.
In motherhood, especially as a stay at home mom, I feel like I am sacrificing every piece of me everyday for these beautiful children. I sit on the couch at the end of the day feeling utterly and completely spent. I’ve sacrificed sleep, friendships, hobbies, vacations, even what I wear and what I eat! I am giving everything I have everyday for these children. I know that it’s only for a season, and that’s why I can do it, but it’s hard to keep sacrificing and giving.
Having a car that I love feels like the one last thing that I have. It symbolizes ME. Would I love a minivan? Perhaps. But a minivan is such a family car. Not that our SUV isn’t necessarily a family car, but I can pretend on my nights out when I’m driving by myself that there aren’t carseats in the back, cracker crumbs and raisins covering the floor, or a Silly Songs CD in slot four. I can just be me in a car that I love and escape the mama sacrifices for a time.
So, we don’t own a minivan. It’s too emotional for me. I’m clinging tightly to what I feel is the last thing that is “me” in this new culture, this culture in which my name is Mom and I’m on call 24/7. Perhaps one day you’ll see me drive by in a minivan, but for now I’m hanging onto our SUV.