I believe the only automobiles that should be named are minivans and convertibles. Of all the cars on the road, these two make the loudest life statements. Drive a convertible? Hello, I’m either really young or really old, have lots of free time and enjoy being in the sun. I probably smile more than the average person. Drive a minivan? Hello, I’m a mother. I have more than one child, I appreciate large trunk space and easily accessible cupholders. I have no free time and all my sunbathing involves sitting on bleachers.
My minivan is named the Deviled Egg. My husband named it because he has a cruel sense of humor and likes to remind me of a time I changed my mind, after I swearing that I’d never do so. One of the greatest joys in a marriage relationship is pointing out to your spouse when they change their mind. His example for me just happens to have four wheels, weighs just under two tons, and carries a monthly monetary reminder.
A lifetime ago, I drove a silver coupe up and down Jackson’s Lakeland Drive for my daily commute. I zipped in and out of lanes and timed my drive to utter perfection. But there was someone who always put a kink in my commute. She drove a white minivan with a university-themed license tag (if you see me in person I’ll be happy to recite the tag number). This woman had the depth perception of a house fly and the lead foot of Bo “Bandit” Darville. Between her and The-Lady-Who-Eats-Cereal-With-Both-Hands-While-Driving-a-Tahoe, Lakeland was a warzone of carpool moms.
I’d arrive ten minutes late to work and just say, “It was HER again,” as I threw myself into my desk chair. “I’m NEVER driving a minivan! I will NEVER be that PERSON!”
“Whatever,” said my one of my coworkers prophetically one day, “You’re going to be a ‘lady who lunches’. You’ll play tennis, highlight your hair, wear giant sunglasses, and,” he paused for dramatic effect, “drive a minivan!”
To which I threw one of my four-inch heels at him, because I was still young enough to have padding on the balls of my feet and could wear those back then.
Four months ago, I was pumping gas into my minivan. It was Saturday morning; I was heading home from tennis drill, and I had gotten my hair highlighted the day before. I started to laugh when I recalled his words, but then rolled my eyes- it was all true, except that my lunch partners sit in high chairs.
My third child was the one that converted me to a minivan. I had an SUV that I was perfectly happy with. When we bought the SUV, my husband kept asking if I would just test-drive a minivan. I stuck my nose in the air and refused.
I’m going to blame the post-partum hormones for this next scene. Addie was three weeks old, and my husband came home to finding me sobbing in our bedroom. “I want a van!” I hiccupped, “And I’m so MAD that I want one, too!”
“You know if we get one, you’ll have egg on your face,” he said (isn’t he empathetic?).
“I don’t care.” (sniff) “I just want sliding doors! Oh my word, I’m going have to burn all my push-up bras and stiletto heels and only listen to KidzBop on the radio.”
“I think you need a nap,” replied my husband, who usually says this when I’m not making any sense.
One month later, I waved goodbye to my SUV and rolled off the lot in my new van. I wanted a white one (because I’m what the Millennials call “basic”) but I settled with a burgundy one (because I’m what the Baby Boomers call “frugal”). It was christened the Deviled Egg with a bag of crushed goldfish crackers.
After the first trip through the parent pick up line, I hugged the steering wheel and declared I was a convert. Gracie was so enamored with it that she asked me if she could have a red van with magical sliding doors to drive when she turned sixteen. I promptly wrote the request down in her baby book and I’m looking forward to showing it to her as I hand her the keys in ten years.
I haven’t burned any clothing and, turns out, vans are lower than SUV’s and are easier to get in and out of when wearing heels. My van has a sweet sound system and the girls are being exposed to a fine selection of 1980’s hair metal at an audiologist-approved volume.
Do I drive like the infamous mom in the white van? Maybe. It depends on how late I’m running to drop my kids off at school.