Minivan I Just Can't Quit You

I fell in love (hard) with my minivan - don't judge

One of the grandest and most glorious love affairs of my entire life was with my 2000 Toyota Sienna minivan. That car was just about perfect. If it were a man, I would have left my husband and married it. It had everything a girl could want.


My minivan was cute, but no prima donna and even better, oh so practical which is exactly what you want in a car and a husband. No one wants a mate/vehicle that’s going to steal all the attention.


You know what I’m talking about. We all have that one acquaintance with the overly attractive husband who seems to travel with his own spotlight. And if you don’t think practical is sexy, well you haven’t been married long enough. Give me a man who can fix the lawn mower and diagnose why the microwave is acting like it’s possessed by Satan (it would turn on when no one was in the kitchen and then beep at you) and you’ve got yourself a keeper.


The Sienna oozed practicality and to be honest, that’s what really wooed me. Those doors that would slide open with the push of a button were so seductive. They glided open like a Reese’s foil wrapped miniature peanut butter cup slithering across satin sheets. And the sheer joy of having three rows of seats that you could walk in-between gave me goosebumps. I would write more about the eight, yes, eight drink holders that could each easily hold a 42-ounce Slurpee, but I fear any further rhapsodizing will cause me to swoon.


I can, though, share my euphoria about sitting in the driver’s seat – or what the owner’s manual described as a “captain’s chair.” Please, as if that name does the experience justice. For me, it was more like I was a queen on my throne. As I looked through the huge windshield, I was surveying not just the road, but my entire kingdom.


My children named our minivan Goldie. It was technically a beige mica pearl metallic but when your kids are two and six, that translates to gold. Goldie became a trusted family member and for some reason, my kids gave Goldie a gender. They decided Goldie was a girl.2She started out as a Texas car where the most severe weather conditions she had to endure were thunderstorms and bravely made the transition to living at 5,000 feet above sea level in Reno, Nevada. Not even blizzards or icy mountain summits could harsh her non-four-wheel-drive vibe.


A lot of good and bad stuff happened in that minivan. There were amazing trips. In fact, Goldie made the trek to Disneyland five (or was it six?) times. She had cherry Icees dumped on her and survived a projectile vomiting episode from a child who had just scarfed down cotton candy ice cream. She saw the best of me and the worst. From happy, loving mom gleefully rocking out to the Disney “High School Musical” CD to scary mom yelling like a banshee at her children.


Goldie witnessed a lot of milestones; from my elevation challenged Texas family learning to kill it on the ski slopes to kids saying goodbye to their car seats, starting kindergarten and then middle school. With each passing year, I grew to love her more and then; it happened - Goldie got old. With more than 200,000 miles it was time for a new car. I fought it but finally, I gave in.


The day I got my fancy, new car should have been one of excitement, but I felt like I was cheating or worse abandoning a family member. When it came time to say goodbye I requested a moment alone with my minivan. I shooed my husband (who looked at me like I was freaking loon), children and the sales guy away and sat in the captain’s chair for the last time and bawled my eyes out. Yes, I was weeping over my minivan.


I felt foolish, but then I realized I wasn’t just crying over leaving my minivan. I was boohooing over the passage of time. When I first got the minivan, I had babies. Now, I had a son who was almost a teenager. The car was one great big memory box perched on four Costco “All Season” tires. Upon realizing this, I ugly cried harder, got it all out of my system, blew Goldie a kiss and slowly exited the minivan for the last time.


Today, my new car, Lexie, the one that replaced Goldie, is at almost 200,000 miles. My husband keeps prodding me that it might be time to consider getting a “better car,” a car with “the latest safety features” etc. etc. I’m ignoring him. I don’t think I can go through losing another family member.



Author’s Note: Lest you think I’m the only one in my family who develops a profound emotional attachment to cars, my husband still owns a 2002 Toyota Sequoia. When asked why he’s not letting go of a car that’s 16 years old and about to hit the 250,000- mile mark his response is a very curt, “I don’t know. I just want to keep it.”