The hubs and I have been driving our respective SUVs for a long time. We’ve managed to avoid a car payment for the last few years, which helped the budget when we had to shell out tuition for our children’s education. Yes, our children’s education does trump a vehicle with all the bells and whistles, among many other things.
The hubs was driving a vehicle built way back in the 90s. Oh yes, his truck was 15 years old… he bought it in pre-9/11 days. Yup. Remember those days? We didn’t think his truck would make it through last winter.
A few weeks ago, the day we dreaded arrived — his ’98 Pathfinder kicked the bucket. As the tow truck pulled it to the shop, the hubs & I made a pact that if the necessary work to get it back on the road exceeded $500, we would start looking for a newer vehicle.
The mechanic called us with a number: $550 to fix the issues and possibly get it through another winter. They also recommended new tires because his were bald. So… we’d definitely be putting more $$ than it was worth. The thing had a KBB value of $495.
That… was a sign.
I contacted a good friend who happens to be a car dealer in Kalamazoo, let him know our situation and inquired about what they had in stock.
We essentially had two choices that would work within our budget: a hybrid car, or a mini-van.
As much as my inner green goddess would’ve LOVED a hybrid… my responsible, Momma side thought about the space & convenience a mini-van would provide.
And just like that, a decision was made, and the wheels began to turn — we made most of the deal over the phone that Friday. Our awesome car-dealer friend even did a test drive for us. Trust. It’s a beautiful thing, don’t ya think?
We picked up our new [to-us-but-totally-used-because-who-can-afford-to-buy-a-new-vehicle-these-days] minivan the next day. Our first “new” vehicle in 8 years!
I was incredibly leery about the mini-van concept and everything it stands for… my brain swirled around the thought I’m one of “them” now. What scared me more was not being recognized when I picked up my kids at school.
Let’s face it, not many parents drive a black SUV with a Tenacious D sticker on the back — people could see (and occasionally hear) my inner-rockstar coming!
Now my rock music, even when played at 11 (IMHO, the only acceptable volume level for bands like The D, Jane’s Addiction, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Queens of the Stone Age, etc) is absorbed in the virtually sound-proof mini-van unless I roll my windows down.
Now… I blend into the school parking lot… and on the road in general. Here I thought I was losing a bit of my street-cred by succumbing to the mini-van, but I’ve quickly learned… everyone & their mother has a mini-van. I knew this to be true before I had my mini-van, but seriously… it’s an epidemic.
As I’ve grown used to the fact that I am now a mini-van-Momma, I have realized just how invisible I had become.
It scared me shitless at first.
I am a Leo, born in the year of the snake — I love the spotlight, ok? Blending in… ? What’s that about? I’ve never been one to conform.
Ya know how it goes — every Mom goes through that “invisibility” stage, right? Likely more than once… at least I have.
You give birth to a baby, and everyone GUSHES over the baby. Just after you were celebrated for your pregnancy and whatever labor story you survived — visitors come to see the baby, not necessarily you. You turn into a very tired milk-machine… and not much else.
Some of us quit our jobs to stay home and raise our kids… and may feel we lose another level of our identity then as well.
I fought through some of that… until I realized that I wasn’t alone.
I’m not the first mother to walk the face of the earth and raise children while trying to juggle life. And I’m certainly not the first Momma to succumb to the mini-van.
I actually — get this — love my mini-van!! It has all kinds of storage, 13 (!!)
beer cup holders, the sliding doors & hatch open with a handy-dandy button — and we have this cool interior ambient lighting thing going on at night. Feels almost like a limo… or… a jet.
I have always felt a connection to Wonder Woman. I think just about every GenX female knows what I’m talking about. We danced around in our Wonder Woman underoos, hit people with the Lasso of Truth and wanted to fly in an Invisible Jet. Lynda Carter is and always will be our first hero.
My friends — I’ve found my invisible jet, and… it’s awesome.
In many ways, I feel I can drive however the hell I want… wherever the hell I want… listen to my music as LOUD as I want, and I’m pretty much incognito. No one looks at the lady driving the mini-van. Ya know, unless she’s naked or causes an accident — which, no, I have NOT. I will not. I’m just sayin. It’s a weird feeling at first… but it’s also a very freeing feeling I’m choosing to embrace.
My Invisible Jet is just another vehicle I’m driving these days. A vehicle has not and will not define me. It’s just a thing. A thing I will be spending a lot of time in for the next several years. This… is ok. I can carry my children and their friends in it safely to/from school, and all their extra-curriculars, I can carry all of my rock-star gear in it as well, with room to spare. I can carry the hubs to date night. I can carry 6 other people… and all of our shit — family optional — on a road-trip to wherever. I can carry my solitary ass to a brewery if I wish. See — I am Wonder Woman, dammit.
Now I just need to add a few white stars to the sparkly navy blue and chrome exterior, and maybe find a place to stick a Wonder Woman logo. Sure, it would decrease my powers of invisibility, but the cool factor would go up a notch, right?