Wednesday, March 4, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

The end of an era – more precisely, my minivan phase

By
From page A2 | February 26, 2013 |

Years ago – in 1999, to be exact – I wrote that I had given up on being “hip” when it came to cars. Though I had previously declared I would rather have a root canal without the benefit of anesthesia than be caught even test-driving a minivan, the birth of my third child that spring meant destiny had taken a hand. I gave in, and slunk into my first van after all. A Honda Odyssey.

“Growing Family Finally Drives Her to a Minivan” was one headline for that column.

And I loved it. So much so that a few years later, after baby No. 4 had arrived, I did it again. This time it was a Toyota Sienna, with all the bells and whistles. It had a remote operating rear hatch, a novelty at the time, that put me over the edge and into that make and model. All that room, all those cup holders, again being able to punch a button from anywhere and open a side door for myself or one of my then-young kids. And this car had a DVD player to keep my little ones occupied. I was giddy.

My love showed. One paper titled a column I wrote about it, “Life Support: Affair with a Minivan (a remote control opens the door to her heart.)” Cute. And correct.

A few years later, when major American carmakers announced that they were discontinuing their minivan lines because buyers considered them so uncool, I wrote that I knew they were uncool – and didn’t care!

Well, 10 years after that second minivan purchase, it’s finally time to get a new vehicle. I admit that I was leaning toward another minivan. But my children staged an intervention: I just could not do such a thing again, they said. Apparently they care about cool even if I don’t. But the fact is, they are right that we just don’t need a minivan anymore. We’re talking SUV.

My children – now almost 19 down to almost 12, which means a couple of new drivers in the mix – are thrilled. Me? Not so much. Not just because I’ll miss the sliding doors and all that room, which I will, but because I realize I’ll miss this particular minivan. Ten years is quite a life span in a family.

I remember the many road trips in it to camp in Missouri, friends in Wisconsin, family in Indiana. The Christmas trees brought home in that van. The arguments between the children. The endless car pools.

This was the very car that brought us from Virginia to our new home in the Chicago area after we so unexpectedly became a single-parent family in 2004. In fact, we had that car for less than a year before it became just the five of us. But now the stick-figure decals on the back, featuring a mom juggling a soccer ball, briefcase and frying pan, a boy and three girls, one dog and two cats, are beginning to fade and peel.

I guess, in a way, with my new husband and our new life, it really is time for new wheels.

It’s just that, for me, letting go of that van has become a metaphor for letting go of my life with young children, and all the chaos and wonder that came with it. I admit that’s hard, and find myself delaying the transition a bit. Especially after I cleaned the car up for sale. I hadn’t seen it without crumbs for a long time.

So I began rationalizing to myself that maybe no huge maintenance expenses are looming. (Actually, they are.) Who really needs four-wheel drive in the Chicago area, anyway? (Everyone.) Most important, surely a 10-year-old car can be just as safe as a much newer one for my teen drivers. (It can’t.)

Of course, the rationalizations don’t work for long. And now it’s on to a new car, and goodbye to the minivan and my minivan phase, after all.

Yes, there is excitement for the things ahead.

Still, minivan, you are not cool – but you will be missed.

Betsy Hart’s latest book, “From The Hart: A Collection of Favorite Columns on Love, Loss, Marriage (and Other Extreme Sports),” has just been newly revised. Email [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
County honors Meadows Trigueiro as Woman of the Year

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Police shut down Fairfield street after shooting

By Glen Faison | From Page: A1, 13 Comments | Gallery

 
Celebrity chef motivates Armijo students

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
State schedules work on Highway 12

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Bridge work to shut down Highway 12 east of Rio Vista

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

Highway 12 Association to meet this month

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Caltrans reschedules work on J-Mack Ferry

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
 
 
Robots, raucous businessmen set to arrive on big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

Teen hit by SUV remains in hospital

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
 
 
 
Fairfield police log: March 2, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Fairfield police log: March 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun police log: March 2, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: March 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Feb. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Enrollment of non-residents to be capped at some UC campuses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

.

US / World

California survey finds Sierra snowpack far below normal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Ex-CIA chief admits sharing military secrets with mistress

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Agents target industry helping Chinese women have US babies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Family of girl declared brain-dead sues Oakland hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

US marshals say man killed by Los Angeles police was wanted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
72 passengers reach settlements in Asiana crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Netanyahu warns US ‘bad deal’ would put Iran on nuclear path

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Mines, bombs slow Iraqi advance on Islamic State-held Tikrit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
India orders TV stations not to give rapist a platform

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Health officials perplexed by vaccination skeptics

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
Lawmakers taking another crack at expanding gun checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

.

Opinion

 
Editorial cartoon: March 3-4, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Minority outreach that works

By Jennifer Rubin | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

 
Israelis worry about inequality, not Iran

By Daniel Gordis | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 4, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Mushrooms are nutrient-packed, with a deep, savory flavor

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5

 
Get ready to add white to the rainbow of produce you eat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
My husband and I want different things in our retirement

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

Horoscopes: March 4, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

 
.

Entertainment

Apollo to celebrate Holiday birthday

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Oprah’s Chicago studios to close down

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Fashion week moves Milan to Paris

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

.

Sports

Bumgarner hit hard in spring debut, A’s beat Giants 9-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
 
Vanden girls roll, advance to SJS championship game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

Raiders officially release S Tyvon Branch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Trooper: Fingerprints show victim in Hernandez’s rented car

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Play ball! Quickly! Baseball tries to speed game this spring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Australian rugby star Hayne signs 3-year deal with 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Maid: Hernandez messed with security camera after killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kings bring back former player Divac in front-office role

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

No ‘floating rubbish’ collection for Olympic sailing venue

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cal senior Reshanda Gray named Pac-12 Player of the Year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rudy Gay, Kings hand Knicks worst loss of season, 124-86

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cubs’ scramble on Wrigley Field hits bump when mayor balks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Oil glut could soon lead to plummeting prices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
.

Obituaries

Jacqueline Mendes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert C. Thierry

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Garland (Curly) Henry Tackett

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Otto Vasak

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

John Henry Fechter, Jr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7