Ode to a Minivan

IMG_0686.jpgMy first car was a 1986 or 1985 (I honestly can’t remember) Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais named Big Blue or the Blue Bomb depending on my mood and day. It was the ultimate hoopty, junker; and I loved it.  It had power seats and windows but no air conditioner.  The gas gage didn’t work and the hood liner was coming down which would eventually be held up by thumbtacks and later ripped out altogether.  Despite it leaving me stranded more than once, I would have driven it across the country and back with little thought or worry.  Ahh, the stupidity of youth.

Fast forward several cars later and I’m stranded again with an infant and a 2 year old.  It was a different car; this time a lemon Isuzu Rodeo.  My husband did something my friends and I still marvel about.  He went out and bought me a minivan.  I had test driven one a few months before as we knew our lemon was on borrowed time but I was adamant that I would never own a minivan.  They were fine to rent for road trips but no way would I succumb to that. I was a cool mom.  I couldn’t be seen driving around in a minivan. Minivans are for super large families and mother’s who wore mom jeans.  And yet, here I was the not so proud owner of a Honda minivan.  The color was Nimbus grey.  Since we are huge Harry Potter fans and we name all of our cars, the van would be called Nimbus. I grumbled and groused but I drove it.  I was not nice to it.  We crisscrossed the Southeast many times for road trips and moving.  We took it to the beach, mountains, and desert.  It endured countless days in the carpool lane to where the back automatic passenger door refused to work. I had been rear ended 3 times and had at least two incidents of front-end damage.  I’ll even admit I raced other cars with it. Nimbus was the ultimate sleeper vehicle.  Men especially loved to think I was some boring mom and that the van had no power.  They’d be wrong.  But, after nearly 10 years, roughly 130,000 miles and never being kept in a garage, Nimbus was actively searching for a white flag to wave.  Nimbus was covered in dents.  There was enough DNA in the carpets, seatbelts and pleather seats to make crime scenes look clean.  The unidentified stains were many.  The drivers’ side seat was literally falling apart. The windshield was so cracked I doubt it would pass inspection this year.  All of the weather stripping was cracked or gone meaning the car was no longer watertight.  The power steering was about to die, the transmission was sketchy and the passenger side rear door had given up the ghost.  I couldn’t help but think of the scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2, where Professor McGonagall bewitches to sentry statues to do their duty and protect the castle.  This poor van protected our family and did its duty.

On Saturday, after lots of research and many test drives, I traded in Nimbus for a small SUV.  I tried not to let on but it was killing me to get rid of this minivan I never wanted.  My kids, especially my daughter, were having a horrible time letting go. At one point, I caught my daughter lying over the hood of the van sobbing.  If I hadn’t been sad right along with her I would have laughed at the absurdity of it all.  This poor van was coming in sideways to its own funeral and yet it had become a trusted member of the family.  So, thank you Nimbus for taking care of us, for protecting us and shuttling us and being apart of so many adventures.  You will be remembered fondly.


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