Friday, January 7, 2011

Dirty Little Secret.

The original.

"Mmmm, mmmm
Something's coming over me
My baby's got a secret. . ."

~ Madonna

About a month ago, something happened to me. Something that I have said over and over and over again that would never happen. Something that I have always seen myself as too cool to ever, ever even consider.

Let me tell you what happened.

I got into my car to take Isaiah to school one day. We had missed the bus that morning intentionally since I didn't have to go to Grady that day. When I pulled out of the garage, it was raining. And not just any kind of rain--it was one of those cold rains. The kind that you don't want to have any part of.

We get to the school at the most busy point in the morning. I finally find a park and manage to hustle Isaiah into school while balancing my umbrella, my purse, and holding his hand. The rain is cold but soft and billowy enough to roll right under the umbrella, which is the kind of rain that converts my hair into an afro. (Note: I have nothing against afros or natural hair. It just didn't happen to be the look I was going for that day. . .but I digress. . . .)

I finally get Isaiah into school, and scurry out to my car as fast as I can. But not before seeing this woman pull up really close to the front of the school in a minivan.


I am freezing and teeth-chattering and repeatedly patting my hair to see if I have become puff-mama while this woman in her cute little North Face fleece is sipping her Starbucks casually. Then--boom!--the automatic doors pop open, and two kids jump out, blow kisses, and wave into the building. She hits some button, they close, and she pulls off.

Just like that.

Later that day, I'm at the grocery store with Things 1 and 2. They are brawling next to the door as I alternate between loading groceries and keeping my kids from getting run over. The rain is still coming. I no longer care about my hair at this point (since now it has become unsalvageable) but I am fully annoyed by the enormous amount of energy it is taking me to get my boys into the Volvo.

That's when I see another mom heading out to her car with two (equally rambunctious) kids. They reach--yep--a minivan. The back opens and Mom throws the bags inside. Then, she walks around to the driver's seat with her kids in tow and--boom!--those automatic doors roll open for her, too. The ninos leap inside, jump into the captain chairs and buckle themselves up. The doors close smooth and easy, and she throws it in reverse.

All while I'm reaching over Capri Sun bags and Batman figures to finish getting mine situated. That's when it happened. The thing that I swore would never happen.

I said, "Damn, I want a minivan."


*That's the sound of all of my friends fainting from this confession.

I looked into my backseat and saw the two boosters, the DVD player, the toys, the crumbs, the coloring books. I took in the entire vehicle--a Volvo SUV--and wondered if I knew of any non-mom who had one. I couldn't come up with a single person. I think the Volvo SUV is nothing more than a not-so-thinly veiled attempt to show people that you could live without and are waaaay too cool to drive a minivan.

I called myself getting that Volvo SUV so that I wouldn't be like those women whose vehicles scream KIDS ON BOARD!! Now that I know better, I realize that this particular SUV does not communicate the same thing that say. . .a Range Rover Sport does. It says, I have kids that I wish to keep safe.

But that wasn't my goal when I got it. I wanted to be the (unbelievably awesome looking) woman that steps out of her (clearly not purchased for chauffeuring kids around) late-model ride at the valet, and has the young attendant look incredulously at her car seats and say, "You have children?"

I've never been able to reconcile the thought of driving places by myself and a minivan being my sole means of transportation. I mean what could possibly be lamer? Minivans have always represented the point of no return.

But that day, when I looked at the Cheeze-its and silly bands all over my (cool) non-mom-mobile, I realized that I had already reached that point. The point where you care as much if not more about function than being the fly-girl. The point where automatic doors make your heart go pitter patter.

And so.

I started surfing the net. Coveting--gasp--minivans. Peaking in their windows in parking lots. Comparing them on websites. I even started imagining myself pulling up at a swanky restaurant to meet my friends, and stunning the valet dudes with my ridiculously youthful and non-momtacular appearance. So much that they'd look at me, marvel at my hotness combined with the oxymoron of it all oozing from a --whaaattt???--- minivan, and say, "You have children?"


So there it is. My dirty little secret is out there in the open now. I am seriously digging the minivan these days. And as it turns out, I am not alone. Even the NY Times published a story on minivans being hip--errr, sort of hip, I mean.

I can't believe this. I have changed my previously firm position on the minivan. And unless one of you can suggest an excellent, roomy, vehicle with a third row, a state-of-the-art media package and ---a non-negotiable must--- the ultra-fabulous automatic sliding doors, a minivan is very likely in my future.


And so. To Lesley M., Stacy H., Erica B., Jada R., Tracey H., and Marra S.--I apologize from the bottom of my heart. For the hairy eyeball that I have given each of you (whether you knew it or not) for the last several years that you have been flippin' switches on those (freakin' awesome) automatic doors. For not wanting to ride anywhere with you. And for--okay, I'll admit it---hating on your mom-mobiles. Now, I get it. I so get it.

I have accepted that far more of my time is spent with my kids in my car than alone. And. The more I think of how proud I am to be my kids' mother, I question my original thought of not wanting to seem mom-ish.

I am mom-ish. And now that I think of it? That's as cool as it gets.


Where my mother-fathers at?

What do y'all think? Have I lost it completely? Does this mean my player card is revoked for good?


  1. First, a confession: I've enjoyed the minivans we've had as rentals on various trips. They do come well-configured with power outlets and whatnot. But owning a minivan is a longer-term solution to a short(er) term problem.

    My 4 kids were able (by age ~4ish) to open the car doors, get themselves into car seats, and reverse the process at the end of the trip. Our car is a Suburban. With 2 kids, you could get by with a Tahoe*.

    I love my Suburban. My kids are older now (the youngest is almost 6) so I think we've dodged the minivan menace. If you like the minivan more, by all means get one. But I love the SUVs too much, myself.

    *If you're a Ford person and not a Chevy person, you can substitute the Ford model of your choice. But if you're a Ford person you probably can't read anyway :-)

  2. I've never understood the appeal of minivans (or any big vehicle, frankly). I'm a proud mama of two and I've never had any issues driving a sedan. The kids get in, buckle themselves up, get out by themselves, etc. I have plenty of space for gear in the trunk. What's so magical about a minivan that makes parenting easier? (I'm not trying to be a smartie-pants; I really want to know!) I guess I only understand it when you have more than two kids.

  3. But Deborah!! The automatic doors, my sister!! Seriously, though, haven't you needed a third row?

  4. Awww Gradydoctor, I love your confession:) I only have one little monkey and I need all the help I can get!

  5. I say anything to make life easier, so if automatic doors are appealing, it sounds like you need to get yourself a minivan :) The only time I've ever felt I needed a bigger vehicle is on the few occasions when I have the kids and the dog (a greyhound) all together (yes, we've done it). Anyway, happy van shopping!

  6. you've turned to the dark side my friend- but i love your honesty- and you. i had a moment when bryn was born and we needed something bigger than the CRV- and i thought- ok, i'll check it out- just check it out. i was terrified that i would love it - so much so that i almost didn't test drive it. in fact, i didn't. i had mike test drive and i rode in the back. luckily- i got carsick- and that was the end of the minivan discussion. but no worries- because now you'll be that hot beautiful woman in the minivan- like a surprise attack- they'll be expecting sweatpants and baby spit up - and you'll give them - gorgeous!

  7. i have a highlander hybrid and i love it! great gas mileage, big car and it has the third row so it seats up to 7 people. plus you can choose to put the third row down and you get extra space in the back. it can have the media options too. only bummer is no automatic doors, but my best friend has 3 girls and loves her highlander. you should check it out!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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