This is an appeal for mercy, or maybe just grace, for minivan drivers. We get a lot of flack, you know. People hate driving behind minivans. They assume we’re slow, crazy soccer moms too distracted to drive properly. Maybe they’re just afraid that the bags of sleep deprivation we hold under our eyes are contagious. Whatever the reason, it’s a reliable bon mot that people dislike minivan drivers.
I’d like to present a plea for understanding. I fully admit that minivan drivers are not always the best drivers, but I’d like to temper this admission with the proposal that maybe everyone else on the road isn’t always the best driver either. And maybe even for less legitimate reasons than minivan drivers.
Because as sexy as minivans are (RAWR), we’re not driving them for their aesthetics. If you see someone tooling around town in one of these mammoth vehicles, chances are excellent it’s because they have at least one child.
Why does this qualify minivan drivers for special treatment? Well, in case you’ve never had the pleasure of driving with a child of any age, let me explain just a few of the on-the-road situations the average minivan driver may be experiencing even while you cut them off in traffic:
- It’s baby’s nap time, and he or she is screaming an unholy banshee wail that is destroying the driver’s eardrums to pitiful mush. The driver, depending on how far away from home he or she is and therefore how desperate he or she has become, may or may not be trying to sing nursery rhymes, distract baby with toys dangled from an arm painfully extended backward and around, or propel the minivan up a ramp and over the cars separating him or her from a crib for wailing, miserable baby.
- Car-sick child in the back who is threatening to vomit. The back windows of a minivan don’t open and, as such, desperate driver is trying to rummage around for a barf receptacle all while trying to avoid running car into a ditch.
- Houdini child has liberated him or herself from safety restraints and is giving the driver a small heart attack as he or she watches the child cavorting around the backseat. Driver then has to alternately cajole or threaten child back into car seat while trying to merge through traffic (past people who won’t let him or her into their lane) to look for a safe place to pull over.
- Driver hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep since…Well, it’s been so long that if you ask him or her a blank look will likely replace any cogent answer. If you don’t think this merits the driver some understanding, you’ve obviously never been sleep deprived.
- Siblings in the back seat are fighting/singing obnoxious songs/rubbing muddy feet on their clothes or the seats/annoying the stuffing out of you. They say that no one knows how to push your buttons quite like your kids. And they are absolutely right.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that minivan drivers are definitely not the best drivers out there (that honor probably goes to ambulance drivers) but we may have the most legitimate excuse for our poor driving.
So if you see a minivan driver pulling up close behind you, her crazy eyes willing you to merge out of her way because you’re not even going the speed limit, just do her a favor and let her pass. She’s probably got at least one bodily fluid to clean up when she gets home, and she could probably use a break.
Wait, what? Today’s Thursday? And I haven’t written anything on my blog since Friday? Have I been on vacation? Certainly not. Did I fall down a well? Not that I know of. Was this week a giant black hole that I’m just now tumbling out of? Why yes, yes it was.
Where to even start? Here’s the quick and dirty breakdown of what the heck happened to me this week, broken into bullet points to encourage me to get to the point:
- Saturday: We have the minivan! Gandalf the White made the journey from Oregon to our garage and I’m in love. It’s the coolest car I’ve ever driven and I love it so much I want to buy it a Best Friends necklace and make it promise to never take it off.
- Monday: We met some good friends in Seattle and had an adventure. This adventure involved impromptu cupcakes, a dog spanking (seriously, this lady hauled off and spanked her tiny little dog for barking at another dog), Aidan’s pants falling off at a restaurant, and my first attempt to breastfeed him at a restaurant (success!).
- Tuesday: Driving around like a madwoman getting Gandalf’s exhaust emissions tested (pass!) and getting him registered with The Man. Gandalf now sports his very own Washington license plates.
- Wednesday: Sneak attack heat wave that threw our house into chaos. On Sunday, it was 60 degrees outside (worst 4th of July weather EVER). Yesterday? 90 degrees. We were not prepared, and every store in the whole state was sold out of the kind of portable air conditioner Wes researched and selected. Fussy, overheated, non-nap-taking baby in one hand, keyboard in the other, I prowled Craigslist until I found a comparable air conditioner and nearly blackmailed the owner into selling it to us.
- Thursday: Running around Home Depot with a baby strapped to my chest, trying to find various components to optimize our air conditioner. Learned all about different kinds of insulation and circuit breakers, including the grim knowledge that unless we get a dedicated circuit (read: expensive custom wiring) our air conditioner will continue to overload our circuit breakers unless we turn everything upstairs off while it’s running (read: showers in the dark will continue).
Yeah. That just about sums it up. There was working and cleaning and laundry in there too somewhere, and I also made homemade eggplant parmesan before the heat wave rendered my kitchen useless.
On a completely related note, does anyone have a spare Hawaii vacation lying around that they don’t want? I know someone who might be interested…
*Massive kudos to anyone who gets the reference in the title of this post!
Major happenings over at casa de Mitchell lately. We took a great big leap further into the parenting end of the pool and sold Kermit (my trusty Kia car) in order to make room for a :::MINIVAN:::
Even though this is my life, I still can’t believe that soon I’ll be the proud new owner of a minivan. Grown-ups drive minivans, y’know?
I mean, I’ve been married since I was 20, I’ve got one heck of a mortgage, and I graduated college and got myself a career and everything. Even with all that going for me, I still felt like a kid. A kid in a candy store definitely, but still a kid.
I always thought becoming a mother would make me feel like a grown-up, but no dice. I suppose spending a large chunk of my time playing peekaboo certainly doesn’t help, but I still feel like a big kid who plays with a little kid all day.
And now I’m going to be tooling around town driving a minivan. So I’ll have the house, the marriage, the career, the minivan, and the adorable baby gurgling in the backseat. Will I feel like a grown-up then?
We won’t get the minivan until later this month (my super-cool aunt is selling hers to us and she’s driving it up from California at the end of the month) but I know it’s white. And pretty. And fully loaded with awesome accessories (this will seriously be the nicest car I’ve ever driven).
So, now we just have to wait for Gandalf the White to join our family (yes, we’re naming the minivan Gandalf. What better car to ferry my baby around than one named after a fierce, indestructible wizard?). We’ll see if he brings my sense of adulthood with him…