I never thought I'd find my way here. Not because minivans are uncool (which, apparently, they are) but because they're so inefficient. I always thought that when my old Explorer needed to retire, I'd get a Prius or something like that.
But something overcame me - this irresistible urge for a minivan. Why should this be? I'm green, right?
So I've given it a lot of thought, and here's my theory:
When I was growing up, my mom was a single parent and worked a lot. When she wasn't working, she didn't want to be driving me and my friends around, and I never was able to have friends over the house. My friends' moms all seemed to be so accepting of us, welcoming their kids' friends into their homes for dinner or sleepovers. I vowed that when I was a mom, I would be the cool mom, the warm and inviting kind of mom.
So here I am, with my five-year-old daughter starting to develop a circle of friends and a social life. She's going off to Primary (Wellspring's version of kindergarten) in September, and living more and more of her life away from me. That's a good, healthy thing, but I am also feeling like it is more important that I have a good relationship with her and her friends. I want to be a mom who brings kids to the park after school, brings them home after school for a quick playdate, or brings a few of them home from a field trip. I want her friends to feel comfortable with me, and for her to feel comfortable with her friends being around me. For that, I need a minivan.
So, this time, emotions won out over environmental responsibility. Even though I know I probably shouldn't want a minivan, I do. I want the life, the relationship with my kids, and the experience of motherhood that the minivan represents to me. So I took the plunge. I hope it's all I dreamed it would be.
Kelly is a scholar-turned-mother/activist who is interested in issues of personal balance and social justice. She has published a number of articles and offers presentations internationally on the topics of voluntary simplicity and humane parenting. Learn more at her website www.beautifulfriendships.net.