cars, minivans, stay at home mom, suburbs, super cool husbands, thankful

I Did It: I Ditched the Minivan.

Our minivan came into our life by necessity. I wasn’t thrilled, but I complied with the minivan acquisition as I was pregnant with my second child and knew we needed something bigger than my Honda CR-V. But three years later I came to realize something VERY important: I make bad decisions when I’m pregnant.

I loved my CR-V. I’m an SUV girl and wanted one from the time I was a licensed driver. But with my lack of independent wealth, I drove the charming cars (filled with character) that my dad gave me. My 1980 Toyota Corolla Tercel had an untimely demise when I rear-ended a full size van on my way home from work the summer after I graduated from high school. The 1979 Mercury Bobcat I bought to replace it (it was less than $500), literally fell apart as I was driving home Labor Day weekend my freshman year of college. I don’t remember what eventually did in the 1982 Chrysler LeBaron that my dad got me, but I do remember that the driver’s side door wouldn’t open from the outside. And that it sat in the parking lot of my dorm for months because the battery died and a tire went flat.

It was at about that time I wised up to the many uses for student loans. I hadn’t needed them to pay for school (I was a scholarship kid), but realized that might be the way to get myself a car that had mostly working parts. And so my 1987 Ford Ranger was introduced into my life. This was in 1996, so though it was the newest car I had every owned, it was by no means new. I loved that truck. I loved that truck despite having to replace the transmission and engine in it (there’s a story there, but too long for this post). But once I had a regular paycheck I realized I should upgrade to a newer vehicle. And in February 2001, I became the proud owner of a 1999 Honda CR-V. I am pretty sure I cried in the used car salesman’s office with the realization I could actually afford a car that new.

But five years later I was pregnant with my first child and I couldn’t sleep at night knowing my 1999 CR-V didn’t have the LATCH system for car seats. (First time parents are so cute.) And so, I upgraded my CR-V to a 2002 and, oh my, THAT was a love connection. It was gold with leather trimmed seats and a six disc CD player. And I loved it. But…

But four years later I was pregnant with my second child, and we came to realize that a vehicle that seats five could be very inconvenient when you have a family of four. We would be bound to taking two vehicles in any situation we were in: No taking our girls’ friends with us on a whim. No letting the grandparents ride with us when they were in town. No loading up the car with luggage or Costco purchases if the whole family was with. So with reluctance, I started looking at minivans because that seemed like the thing to do when you’re eight months pregnant.

I didn’t want to be a minivan driver. That meant I was an old suburban mom, which I wasn’t obviously (I totally was/am). Maybe if I had a swagger wagon, but that wasn’t in the budget. So despite my growing identity crisis, we drove home in a 2007 Honda Odyssey. DVD player? Check. Leather seats? Check. Super handy magic sliding doors? You betcha. Love connection? Not so much. Also it wasn’t until we got home that I realized it wasn’t in great shape inside. My OCD had a problem with the level of cleanliness we were greeted with. Due to my growing belly, I hadn’t really investigated the third row at the dealer. And so the minivan started with two strikes against it: 1) It wasn’t my CR-V; and 2) it was dirty. The relationship was doomed from the get go.

But I’m a trouper so I stuck it out. When my second child was born, it was very nice hit a button on the remote to open the doors. And it was nice in parking lots when I had to get the infant car seat out of the car because there was no clearance to worry about for the doors. But, alas, it was not my CR-V so I was left to count the days until we could get something else. Well, it finally happened! Sure I was a little hesitant about losing the magic sliding doors, but now that my girls are almost seven and three, I felt like we could handle it.

And so I present to you, my “new” car! She’s a 2012 Chevy Traverse, and I know it’s early in our relationship but this *might* be a love connection.

Despite the fact that my husband says adults don’t name their cars, I feel like she needs a name… I am open to suggestions. And – for what it’s worth – we are in the process of replacing two other major purchases we made around that time, thanks to my pregnant-decision-making fails.

Have you ever had a love connection with a car, or am I a total weirdo?

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