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I've Crossed Over To The Dark Side

When we moved to Texas, I was struck by
how many SUVs and mini-vans there were on the road. Coming from New
York, a city that prizes cars able to fit into small parking
spaces, I felt more than a little intimidated as I drove down the
highway surrounded by behemoths.

Then the gas crisis hit last year, and I filled up my modest
four-door rather smugly as the owners of the gas-guzzlers
commiserated with each other, and vowed that the next car we bought
would be, at the very least, a hybrid. Maddie had been begging for
a mini-van ever since we’d borrowed a family member’s
for a couple weeks, and I scoffed at the idea of needing one for a
two-kid family, even as my mother suffered silently while being
wedged in between two car seats in our sedan’s back seat.

And then things changed.

Out of the blue, we were given (yes,
given!) a mini-van, no strings attached. Did I hesitate? Did I ask
the gas mileage? Um, nope.

I said, “When can I pick it up?”

So my transformation to suburban mommy is complete: I now chauffeur
Maddie to ballet and gymnastics and playdates in our own mini-van,
and my mom has a whole luxurious back row to herself. My girls have
quickly adapted to the luxury, sitting high above the road in
queen-like splendor and looking down on all the poor schmucks who
don’t have a monster like ours. Maddie’s already
learned how to open the sliding doors by herself, and the girls
love that they can get in and out either side together.

We’ve even given rides to others, taking Maxum and his mommy
on an afternoon outing so we could all ride in one car. Cora got to
ride in the far back seat, an adventure she’s not forgotten
and begs to repeat daily. Maddie’s dying to ride in the far
back as well, since it’s the far back that has the built-in
drink holders, but she’s savvy enough to realize that if
she’s in the far back she’s too far away for mommy to
reach her with snacks.

I’d say that Cora’s definitely the most addicted of all
of us to the mini-van; every time my mom heads out the door to go
to work, Cora screams in a panic, “Don’t take my
mini-van!” And while I’m not quite there yet, I do have
to admit that having the extra leg room, the extra space for
groceries and picnic gear and hanging plants and just STUFF, is
really really nice.

Just over a year ago, I was walking everywhere, traveling light.
Now, I drive in a tank, surrounded by cupholders and extra snacks
and back-seat climate control.

I have to admit, even as the hip urbanite in me cringes, that
it’s kinda nice.


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