Last October Kirk and I said goodbye to our Titan pickup that we had bought literally days before I got pregnant with Walker in the summer of 2009. It was a fun vehicle. Big, strong and a total pain in the butt to park (hence the reason for parking at the far end of the parking lot – at least for me). It was also hard to get the baby in and out of, I’d have to stand on the rails to get him. Kirk could fit easily into it, it was made for men over 6 feet tall but I felt swamped. Don’t get me wrong though, it was fun to drive.
And did something I said I would never do – buy and drive a mini van. Because to me driving a mini van was the end of being ‘young’. There was nothing worse in junior high/high school than the friends whose parents drove the clunky mid 80′s vans. Just the memory of being in 9th grade and my friend Katie’s parents mini van still makes me queasy. Ugly, ugly, ugly. But something changed in me. We went from one kid to two and then in October we took a long road trip on the East Coast and rented a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan to haul us, the baby and our hiking/photography gear.
(Rental van in distance)
That week opened my eyes. I was comfortable. Everyone was comfortable. The seats moved, flipped. We could have all but his seat flat and he could play at rest stops (So long Tennessee! Hello Virginia!). On one hike we all got very cold, a bad wind storm picked up. We got in, turned up the heat and with it pouring from above we all warmed up. Right there I knew I wanted one. I mean I could change his diaper INSIDE the vehicle. Changing the baby in the Titan meant I had to do it on the tailgate! Where he was exposed and cold. Previous to the Titan I had driven medium-sized SUV’s for a decade and they were just as bad for being clunky. We had traded in my SUV I had bought when Ford was little for the Titan and I hadn’t missed it at all!
We went and looked at mini vans once we got back. We ended up deciding that we wanted either a Dodge Grand Caravan or a Chrysler Town and Country so that we could have the Stow ‘N Go feature for the second row of seats. Being able to change the layout of the interior was very important as we never know what we might be carrying gear wise. We also needed the tow kit. In the end we went with a Town and Country Limited with the stronger engine/etc for towing. And within a week I was hooked. Things I never thought I would find great I did – having presets for our seats, ample room for the massive car seat Walker is in, leg room for the 6 foot tall 13 year older. 2 TV’s for the 13-year-old (yeah, I always said I wouldn’t get that…..snort!). Doors that slide. I always hated mini van doors until I had a small baby. Then I realized just how better they are. Sad thing is many cross over vehicles are essentially mini vans with SUV doors – and I like not worrying about banging doors when we are on ferries! Or having the wind slam them shut!
Now 6 months into owning it I’d say I am in love with it. It is easy to drive. Smooth, quiet and comfortable. The 3rd row seats we got the electric upgrade and it is so convenient to hit a button and they stow flat or flip back on their on. Easy when you have the baby in your arms! A million cup holders (or it seems like it) and multiple power outlets including regular plug ins (helpful for charging my mobile phone while we drive). Sure, all it is missing is a “Mom Mobile” sticker on the back but I am OK with that. The comfort won me over You all can have the clunky cars and SUV’s! I like that I can load up the jogger stroller and not have to lift it above my waist anymore!
And Walker loves the van (so does Ford but that is because he can watch Indiana Jones for the 10th Billion time while we drive…..). He can get out of his seat and play, running around the back if I have the seats stowed. Especially on days when Kirk has to run to the office and we come along. He gets upset when playtime is over and back in his seat.
“How’s about you sit in the dumb ol’ car seat, Mom?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll guard Daddy’s lunch!”
“Bye!” The back seat was looking like more fun, or maybe Daddy’s sushi was!
Maybe my youth is gone but heated leather seats and a backup camera make up for a lot. I don’t mind getting old in some ways