Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I have a confession to make to all of you! I have been holding out on sharing some information regarding this new phase of our two-child family status. I think part of the problem is that I am still processing it myself. I am hoping that by disclosing this information through out all of cyberspace that I may come to terms with it. There will be no more denying it because it will be "out there".

I have had extensive conversations with many, many girlfriends over the years about how I would never, NEVER do what Jonathan and I did. I have had a strong conviction for a couple of decades that *this thing that we did* was not an option for us. As we were in the process, I turned to Jonathan and asked him, "What is it going to say about me that I have held this conviction for so, so long and within twenty minutes I am being persuaded to go against what I felt so strongly about?" I just can't believe that we went through with it. I am in complete and utter shock, not to mention major denial.

Jonathan and I bought a minivan.


I said it.

Oh my gosh, I said it.

I think I need to go to some sort of group - the opposite of a 12 step. I need practice saying, "Hi, my name is Ashley. I own a minivan."

(It took everything in my power to type that out and not delete it!)

Now don't get me wrong. I don't want to offend any minivan owners out there. There is no denying that they have come a long, long way over the years. And as far as function, convenience, and kid carrying luxury - they are the way to go. However, I am still having a hard time accepting that this is the phase that we have entered into. I can't wait for the PTA, soccer mom days to come, I just didn't want the minivan stigma to go along with it. And now here I am with the minivan stigma, 3 years earlier than PTA mommy status!

If you are wondering how this came all about then keep on reading! It all started out because I had been researching 7-passenger SUVs for us to upgrade to. We have company in town all the time and oftentimes it is just my mom or just my sister. This means we need one more seat in order for them to ride around with us. It would be ridiculous to drive two cars around for a weekend.

Jonathan has always been anti-SUV but I have always wanted one. I wanted one of the smaller ones though, and recently I discovered that Toyota had added a back row to their Highlander and RAV4 (we are devout Toyota drivers and wanted to stay with them if we could!). So I talked Jonathan into going to the lot with me to "just look". This is all I could convince him to do. As a matter of fact, on the way there, he made it clear to me that he didn't want to talk to a salesperson and he absolutely did not want to "talk numbers".

When we approached the lot, we were immediately greeted by a friendly salesperson. (A friendly, young, hip salesman that holds the record for most minivans sold in a year!) I think they must have all been standing around, saw us coming, pushing our baby stroller, and then had him pounce on us! With a little bit of minivan "convenience" mumbo-jumbo we were a "sure sell".

We started out looking at the Highlander and the RAV4. However, it never dawned on me that in order to get to the back seat you would have to lift the middle seat up. This means the car seats would have to be taken out each time someone would get in or out of the back seat or we would have to put the car seats in the back seat which is just too far away to meet their immediate needs. The inside also felt very cramped, and it would probably be only a matter of minutes before a claustrophobic attack would take place. (My husband, my sister and my mom are all claustrophobic). So, it wasn't long before I realized that these models were not functional and I was still holding fast to my conviction of not wanting to go any bigger in size and smaller in gas mileage, etc.

So, this meant the only option was a test drive of the minivan. Jonathan's whole demeanor changed at this point. He got very enthusiastic about the car buying process. And I on the other hand could not believe I was even considering peering into one much less driving one. I think I ducked down and tried to hide as I was getting into on the off chance that someone I knew would drive by and see me.

Well, the rest is pretty much history. The drive was super smooth, super quiet, and felt super functional. Maybe I was persuaded because it was such a smooth ride and this was the first time I had driven a car since January! The freedom of driving on an open freeway at accelerated speeds was quite refreshing. It probably wouldn't have mattered what I was driving - I would have enjoyed it no matter what!

Needless to say, as we returned the car to the lot, I peaked into the the more luxurious models. Leather interior, sun roof, wood grain paneling, 6 CD changer, DVD player, all-wheel drive, built-in Ipod plug in, dual heating/air control, bun warmers, etc, etc, etc. I quickly decided that IF I was going to be persuaded into making such a life-altering purchase that I was going to do it in style.

So there you have it.

"My name is Ashley. And I am a resigned, reluctant owner of a luxurious (yet functional) minivan".

I'll have to work on saying it without the "resigned", and "reluctant" modifiers, but for now it is where I stand. I am coming out of denial.


Not All There Players said...

Better the minivan 'stigma' than the SUV STIGMA, I always say. (Don't even start me in on Hummers!) I believe you will love your minivan as we love ours. We got ours for our dogs, though. Older dogs love the ease of getting into and out of a minivan! :o)/ Theresa

Anonymous said...

I have the utmost sympathy for you. I went from a Black-Turbo-Charged-Standard Transmission-sun roof-Saab 9000 to a Ford Windstar. I don't know how it happened. The other night it came in handy when I picked up "a couple" of my 14yo son's friends. After 4 piled in and we picked one more up on the way - oh, plus the one friend in the car, my 2, me and dad. The worst (best) part was 7 14yo boys singing Victor Vito and Candyman with the one 4yo girl. I miss my Saab, but love the company! Enjoy it now, good luck keeping it clean and organized!!

Anonymous said...

What... I can't believe it. I've been holding out for 10 years. Now, your making me think.. If Ashley drives one then I might just re-think my anti-mini van movement also. Your paving the way Ashley. Thanks for stearing me (maybe) to the Mini van club!! Jen

Anonymous said...


In my day it was the station wagon.

Hoefully in time you will appreciate the mini van.

Best to the Potter family.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Theresa, the SUV stigma is far worse. I've sometimes referred to certain drivers of said vehicles as SUBs -- Sport Utility Bitches.

The minivan is built for leisure and comfort and humble joie de vivre; whereas SUV culture reeks of soul-sucking pride and conspicuous consumption. (I'm painting with a broad brush here, no offense intended to individual SUV drivers, some of whom are no doubt lovely, lovely people, just as some minivan drivers are no doubt real assholes.)

Talk about your miracles, I think a miracle occurred that day at the Toyota dealership. A dove flew down from heaven and landed on that pearly white minivan. A healing took place, a conversion, a rebirth of wonder, a defeat of the devil who scurried away in his SUV with his tail between his legs.


Unknown said...

The real miracle happened when my devoted husband drove our minivan for nearly two years between when I got a smaller car to commute to work in and he finally got his jeep.

Now I tell you a nearing middle aged man driving a minivan must have really been feeling like a chick magnet. But he did it willingly because he knew I felt safer commuting in a smaller car.

Now that is true love and devotion.