They say confession is good for the soul, so here is mine…I love my minivan.
Okay, I said it.
I realize this admission confirms what my sisters always said about me: I'm just not that cool. That's fine with me. My minivan and I can take it. It's my badge of honor that announces to the world each and every day, I am a mom and I am proud!
Now driving a minivan may not seem like such a big feat, but let me explain a few things. First, I did not even learn to drive till I was 35, and I did that only because we were going to be moving to the suburbs where I was raised.
Unlike Manhattan and Queens, my former homes, driving on Long Island is a necessity. Overcoming my fear to drive once seemed impossible, but I did it. It required many driving lessons and a teacher that became a candidate for sainthood, but it's an accomplishment that I'm very proud of.
Second, I never thought I would have enough children to warrant a minivan. Children did not come easily to my husband and me, so once I had my second child I thought we were done.
Life had other plans. I got the happiest shock of my life when after two fertility assisted babies I found myself pregnant with our third child at 39.
For some reason, the minute you find out you will have more than two children, there is an amazing amount of pressure to announce this miracle by the car you drive.
Most of this pressure came from my parents, who thought it was practically child abuse to put their grandchildren in anything less.
This from the same people who took my two sisters and me on more family trips than I care to remember stuffed in the backseat of my father’s green Volvo.
I wish I could properly describe the five hour trips home we would make from my uncle’s dairy farm with my sister Sandy's feet under my butt. The smell of cow manure packed into bags and put into the trunk for my fathers vegetable garden. Sitting in the backseat with a very full bladder because my parents were bound and determined to only make two pit stops per car trip upstate.
Good times indeed.
Yes, now that they are grandparents they sing a very different tune. They get upset at me if I don't have pillows and blankets in the car when I take the kids home from their house. The house that is only six blocks from mine.
Oh how times have changed. But I digress.
Every time I get behind the wheel of my Mom-mobile I get an odd sense of pride. I did it. I became a mom. Look at my dirty minivan with cookies smashed in the carpet: I have arrived.
That silly sense of pride and even joy gets me through my toughest days.
Days when getting everyone into the car becomes a second job. Or when I imagine snapping my 12 year-old’s pants on his wedding day because the 10 years of occupational therapy seems to have done little to help his fine motor issues.
Times when I get tired of hearing my own voice telling my little dears the same things over and over again. The painful days when I realize that my beautiful daughter with a brain disorder is probably never going to be able to live on her own.
I hear the arguing, the singing, and the laughter coming from the backseat and I can’t help but feel blessed and grateful.
There were times I really thought that the life and the children I love so much would never be mine. There were so many obstacles to overcome. Yet, I did it.
I have become the mom that I always wanted to be.
My minivan is a tangible reminder that all the things I once thought were impossible are not impossible at all.
Authors note: The original version of this essay was first published on Momster.com in November, 2010 where I wrote it under the name BlessedMomof3. This version has been altered slightly. It is the first time I have put it on Blogspot.