We were a family of four and fit comfortably in my beloved SUV. When we discovered we were about to become a family of five, I had to swallow my stylish pride and admit that it was time to do some mini-van shopping.
I fought it, but my husband was my voice of reason and I soon admitted he was right. It was time to buy “the family car.” That day should have been fun because we were buying a new car. Instead I was close to tears in the dealership as I wondered if they also gave away a free pair of high rise Lee “Mom” jeans with purchase.
Why was I so upset? Was it that I was almost 9 months pregnant and had roller coaster emotions? Was I afraid I was really a frumpy Mom and just didn’t know it? I had plenty of friends with mini-vans and they all said that they loved them. They were fun people and continued to look stylish. Did they really love them or was it just a trick that all mini-van owners play in order to get more people to buy mini-vans. (Okay, paranoia occasionally appeared during the 9th month of pregnancy too.)
Perhaps my fear of owning the mini-van came down to my own insecurities. Was the mini-van the symbol I had become JUST a Mom and had lost the rest of my identity? Was there so much room in this new van that I would lose the person I used to be if I drove it? Did that person vanish just to be replaced with this child focused, van driving new person?
As I sat in the dealership, eating my snack, the answer became clear to me somewhere towards the middle of the pretzel bag. Yes. I was different. I had become a person that makes decisions based on the needs of others instead of just myself. I could find happiness through the happiness of others. I was a parent.
Each day I drive my van, I can hear the soft chatter and happy laughter of my three sons echoing from the back of our large vehicle. The sounds brighten each day and I now look forward to being in my mini-van. For sure, the van has made my life easier, but I have owned cars I have enjoyed driving more. I do not have to love the van. I love what is inside.