As the journey of my life travels down a new road, my mode of transportation is detouring to reflect this change. And reflecting on that transportation transformation makes me realize more has transformed than I might have realized when I walked into the car dealership for the first time.
Yes, I am driving away from the minivan stage of life.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise. My four children all have this one characteristic I cannot deny: they're growing up. Preschool days flew into elementary school,
which whirled into middle and high school.
College and careers soon would be calling. And with only one child at home fulltime now, the minivan seemed excessive. So when that minivan was given the ”do-not-resuscitate” order upon its last auto-shop visit, the decision loomed behind me like the shadow of my children’s childhoods.
Much is written about the monumental moment in life that dictates the need for a bigger car. That moment when the family purchases their first minivan symbolizes the exciting changing dynamic of a growing family. What then does the moment mean when the same family no longer needs room enough in a car for multiple children and car seats? My family hasn’t shrunk in size, but admittedly the number of times we all travel together has shrunk drastically. There’s no denying, the dynamic is different as I acknowledge a stab of sadness, realizing the days of
family road trips with toys and games and sing-a-long tapes are over. The exhausting yet sometimes exhilarating hours spent in my home-away-from home minivan are all behind me. Most poignantly, my moving on symbolizes the fact that my children also are moving on.
And so I walk into the car dealer with my heart a little heavy.
But as luck would have it, my heavy heart soon enough finds a cute little red number that calls to me, promising with its flashing dashboard lights to never grow up and go off to college. Its finger-print-free interior invites me to sit and stay and faster than you can say, “gear shift”, I find myself honking goodbye to that minivan along with the stage it represents. And cruising down this new road as my high tech CD player broadcasts music I can sign along to, I have to smile.
Part of me will always relate to being a minivan mom. Those moments, as messy and manic as they were, are planted in a precious part of the definition of who I am. But I’m starting to comprehend the idea that while driving my kids around is no longer a major focus of my day, my kids, as old as they might get, will always be a driving force of my life.
And as my new sporty tires quietly hum along the pavement, a feeling washes over me that this new road I’m traveling might also be pretty fun to navigate.