Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why the idea of a mini-van makes me want to cry

I normally don't write super personal stuff here.  Cyber-space is filled with great writers who can make you laugh and cry and overall provide a really entertaining two and a half minutes. A friend told me early into my blogging (a few months ago) that I should stick with what I know.  Today,  I am writing from the heart, not the head.  Instead of writing about child development theories or getting your kids to eat veggies, I am writing about why the thought of a mini-van makes me cry.  If you get frustrated with posts about 'First World Problems' then just close the window.  Read no further. Sorry this is that kind of post. 

It is stupid right? I know.

So why is it so hard?

When I got married I wanted three kids, my husband wanted two.  After I converted to the faith we compromised and had five although we only have four to raise in this life.  Growing up it never occurred to me that I would be Catholic, practice NFP, or have more kids than I had room for in a standard car.

I learned how to drive on a 1969 Ford Longbed.  It was huge.  It was awesome.  It wasn't the least bit embarrassing because even though it was old, it was tough.  It had serious character.

Photo Credit

I shared the truck with my sister and parents in high school, then got my sister's car for my last year of college.   It was an '82 Honda Accord running on its second engine.  We called it the rust-moblie.  It was a seasonal vehicle - in the fall I would take it to the shop and have the A/C redirected so that the heat would work. In the spring they would switch it back so that the A/C could work again.  When it rained a lot it flooded inside.  Puddles.  When I drove around the corner you could hear sloshing.  Duck tape finally fixed that problem.  After it completely shut down on the freeway during a monsoon storm, I gave it to my brother (who could actually fix it himself if it broke down) and my husband got me a new car.  I LOVED it.  It was the car I had always dreamed of having.

A Jeep Grand Cherokee.

It was a lemon.

Four years later when our repair bills were higher than our resale value we traded it in for a Honda Pilot.


I lovED my pilot.

8.5 years and 155K miles later I have driven it as long as I can.  Leading this rugged but intellectual mother of four in search for a new vehicle.

I want a Suburban with the gas milage and price tag of a Prius.   It has to be small enough to fit in my garage and big enough to accommodate our ever expanding (although not currently) family.  We still have two in car/booster seats, but the boys are growing fast and Anthony will soon overtake me in size.

The practical answer is a minivan.

I know that.  My engineer husband knows that.  But it don't want to be practical.

I want to be impractical.  I want a car to reflect who I am, not what I do.  I know I AM a mother,  but I am also a unique person.  I spend hours driving the kiddos around - gymnastics, piano, soccer, choir…I practically live in the car some days.  I want to love the vehicle.  I want it to reflect who I am in the way that my clothing, or hair, or my speech, or even they way I walk reflects who I am.

I think about how the vehicle in NO WAY reflects who I am.  I think about how each of us mothers GIVES and GIVES and GIVES. We go to bed exhausted and wake up after not-enough sleep, ready to do it all over again. Some days every inch of me feels under appreciated.  I know I am not doing what I do it for my kids or husband, I am doing it for HIM, but there are times when I do feel invisible.

And the mini-van is another extension of that.  It doesn't matter what I WANT.

It is the practical answer.

It is Lent now.  We are supposed to die to ourselves.  We are supposed to master ourselves.  We are supposed to disconnect from the material and physical world.  I WANT to do that. I want to NOT care.  But all I can think about is how completely unsexy I would feel.  Honestly they ought to give every new minivan buyer a $200 gift card for Victoria Secret.

And that is what makes me cry.

It makes me cry to think that this is one more area of my life that I thought I had 'mastered'.  I thought I was pretty devoid of caring about 'things' and 'image' and the material life.   After all, I can go all day without make up.  That is the test right? No.  It is not.  And I have clearly not mastered this.  I do care about things, and myself, and my identity, and what kind of stupid car I am driving.

So one more thing to work on this Lent.  Pray for me… I will be praying for you!

Thanks for stopping by to think whine with me!

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