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Mini-van envy

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A young woman looking out the window a vehicle with a child in the back seat.

I swore up and down I would never drive a mini-van. In fact, on my search for a new car, I avoided the row of vans like the plague. But now, the idea of owning a van is beginning to seem more and more appealing. Last week, I met my friend at the park for a play-date. Our two-year-old daughters are exactly one day apart; she also has a newborn and a 4 year-old son. When it was time to go and we bribed the kids to leave, she walked over to her minivan as the trunk and doors opened across the parking lot. That’s when it all started…my mini-van envy.

I put my son down on the ground in his car seat, opened the door, and hoisted my two-year-old into her seat while offering up fruit snacks to get her mind off going down the slide “one more time”. (I’m not above using fruit snacks to entice my two-year-old into her car seat). I’m sweating by this point. I buckle her in, pick up my son, carry him over to the other side and pull open the door. I plop him in and shut the doors. I go to the back open the trunk and begin putting my stroller in the back.

As I’m doing all this, my friend has opened up both sides of her van and the trunk using her key fob. Her two toddlers climbed in by themselves as she put the newborn in the car seat at waist level with zero hoisting involved. She was in the driver’s seat smiling and waving bye while I was still wrestling to put the stroller in the back of my SUV.

She managed to get THREE kids in her van and was well on her way before I was able to finish getting my TWO little ones in my SUV. As I wiped sweat from my forehead, I watched her hair blowing from the AC as she drove away. The appeal of a mini-van had never been so strong.

Unfortunately, I just bought my SUV this summer so buying a van really isn’t in the cards for us but I now totally have some van envy. I’ve been keeping my eye out on a good deal and have noticed that a lot of the vans have nice kid-friendly features and pretty great gas mileage compared to most SUVs.

No, vans aren’t for everyone and I myself thought I would NEVER drive one. But sometimes being practical has its advantages and you just have to embrace it. With two little ones, life is hard enough so anything that makes it easier, I’ll take it.  So here I am eyeing used minivans, getting jealous of the dual screens with headphones for silent driving. And the next time I’m searching for a vehicle, I’m not ruling anything out. Give me the van and all those extra cup holders.