Before we had Superhero 2, I told Super-Spouse we were NOT getting a minivan.
Two children fit plenty comfortably in our humble four-dour vehicle, and there was no reason we needed to upgrade when our vehicle was already paid off.
One week after delivering our little man, hubby and I were on a road trip to celebrate a family graduation, and, with a rear-facing infant car seat directly behind me in the passenger seat, I ate my knees for two hours up and two hours back … and promptly told him, “I told you we needed a larger vehicle.”
He wanted a minivan.
At 26 years old, I told him there was no way I was trading in my cool kid cards to drive a minivan. Minivans were for parents with mom jeans and triple strollers and big, huge bags that had “soccer mom” embroidered across the back. They were for people who carpooled and listened to Light 99.9FM and frankly, were just OLD.
I was a judgmental, young, hip mom with two, not six, children, and I, in all my young mom pride, refused to take the plunge.
So, the very next day, we spent a day at the car dealership and ridiculously drove home a gas-guzzling SUV we couldn’t afford instead.
And the first time my sweet oldest son opened his SUV door straight into a newly painted red convertible, which I then left a note with my name and insurance carrier on the windshield of, I cried on the phone to my then-traveling husband, “Why didn’t you let me get a minivan?!”
We’ve driven that SUV for nearly nine years and more than 233,000 miles. Two of our four children have driven home from airport arrivals in that vehicle. And after multiple cross-country moves and countless family road trips, it’s become part of the family.
But, with four superheroes, a stroller for the little man who is still fighting to walk and the most industrial and crazy pediatric walker you’ve ever seen on order, space has gotten tight. (Just ask Superhero 1, who has to crawl into his third-row seat through the trunk and was buried under a pile of presents and blankets on our Christmas road trip to Ohio while the brothers in the row before him sat criss-cross-apple-sauce so we could fit suitcases beneath their feet. We didn’t even have room for the stroller that currently transports our 4-year-old superhero, which meant that we carried him — all who-knows-how-many-quickly-increasing-pounds-of-him, all over Ohio.)
So when a member of our family was in need of a working vehicle this month, God told us it was time to gift our beloved SUV and move on to a vehicle that could better serve our growing family (and others).
But don’t worry, we didn’t do anything crazy. Like buy an uncool, old people minivan.
I have standards.
No, we bought something much more reasonable. Much more practical. Much more humble and discreet.
We bought THIS.
A used 15-passenger van.
Oh, I tried for the minivan. Long gone were the days when my cool points were more important than the wallet that paid out $500 to owners of vehicles we damaged in Walmart parking lots with our SUV swing doors.
But when we discovered that we’d have to sell my left ovary to purchase the one we wanted (and then we’d still struggle to fit more than a stroller and a walker and/or future wheelchair in the trunk), and we’d never be able to carpool again, we opened ourselves up to other options.
One day, as we were discussing new vehicles, we found ourselves at a stoplight behind a passenger van.
“What about one of those?” Super-Spouse asked.
I stared back at him from the passenger seat of our SUV with “are-you-stinkin’-kidding-me?” eyes.
“Baby!” I exclaimed. “We have FOUR children. Not 14. That would just be ridiculous.”
Smiling, he asked me to humor him. “Just Google one. See how much they cost.”
Begrudgingly, I pulled out my phone and began Googling the price of large vans … and discovered that, depending on the brand, they were actually more affordable than the minivans we’d been considering.
Like THOUSANDS more affordable.
And it was over.
“Michelle!” Super-Spouse cried. “Just think how awesome that would be! We could fit all our kids, all their stuff and all their friends in ONE VEHICLE! We could carpool again! We could haul lumber for projects again! We could help people MOVE again! I mean, we could fit both of the older boys’ problem-solving teams inside one vehicle! Just think how great that would be for competition days!”
I just stared back at this man who used to be suave who was now sitting in the driver’s seat of an SUV trying to convince his wife that driving a bus she would surely wreck on Day 2 would be sexy.
“Love, just think how many people we could serve!”
Michelle to herself: And how many more children we could adopt!
In an attempt to win his wife over to his newfound love of passenger vans, he didn’t outright say no.
So this week, with Super-Spouse’s enthusiastic endorsement of vehicles that could transport entire kindergarten classes, we drove to the lot that held the van I had found marked down online and negotiated.
When the sales manager came to speak with us, he told us that he normally only sold these types of vehicles to preschools and churches.
I looked down at our sweet superheroes, who love Jesus but were at the moment too tired to try and represent Him and were really just trying their best not to pick their noses or pass gas in front of the nice car salesman, and told him we’d be using the van for both.
And that’s how we ended up with a used beast of a bus we found an hour away for $10,000 less than a minivan.
Mom Beast Bus.
My new sweet ride.
Today, I’m just embracing it.
#noshame #superspouseowesmeaboutninemorekids #carpoolbeast #mommobile