We are the minivan

A few weeks ago, I began pulling out of a parking space and my rear bumper sensor indicated someone was walking by behind me. Actually, the sensor let loose a piercing screech that caused all three kids to cover their ears and me to throw the car in park and karate chop the air while screaming HIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYAAAAAHHHHH!

Apparently my rear sensor was on the fritz. That was its last swan song. My bumper will never beep another warning. May we all share in a moment’s silence.

When I first figured out that I wouldn’t have the beep to warn me if I was going to run over a bike, or a plastic basketball goal…or the dog, I panicked slightly.

“How will I back up if I don’t have the warning signal?” I lamented.

“Um…the same way you did for the first fourteen years you drove a car,” my annoyingly amazingly practical husband answered. “Use your mirrors and turn around and look.”

Ah. Novel idea. He’s a keeper, that fella of mine. A keeper.

Of course this won’t save a stray bike that finds its way behind the back bumper, but if I hit their bikes, then hopefully lesson learned. Don’t leave your bikes under my dead rear bumper, kids. Don’t do it.

We could, naturally, get the sensor fixed – that would solve the problem lickety split, but I’m not sure I want to spend the money on that when, you know, I could just use my mirrors and turn my head around. Right?

I realize that my minivan, being a little over four years old at this point, is quickly heading down the hoopty van track. In fact, she’s sprinting there. When the bells and whistles start fading and the scratches from wayward bicycles and scooters make patterns down the sides, the luster of the minivan wanes.

Not hot.

This is part of the stigma of driving a minivan. People don’t want to drive them because when sticky, Nutella laden fingers slide down the sides and dot the windows, it becomes apparent that we’re farther away from the carefree days of our youth than we want to acknowledge.

Our moms drove minivans. Weren’t they old?

Sorry mom.

There’s another thing. Minivans get dirty. I’m pretty sure our minivan had the new car smell for 12.4 minutes. That was it.

That’s not very long.

Minivans take a beating on a daily basis for hours on end, and those of us driving them, while well-intentioned, simply can’t keep every stray french fry or Cheez-it or ham sandwich accounted for.

Some of them simply fall beneath the cracks.

Incidentally, have you noticed that french fries never mold? This is why they are the perfect food for feeding young children on the go. Drop those bad boys under the seat and never fear. They will harden into a perfect fossil – a reminder of the days when life was crazy and kids couldn’t get the food from a box to their mouths.

But no mold.

Good job McDonalds.

I’ll tell you what, though. Minivans have something something those shiny, fancy SUV’s and sports cars don’t. That’s right. They have that one thing that makes them hotter than all the rest. And that one thing is…



This is awkward…

Okay so a scratched up, sticky, faded, smells-like-sweaty-children-and-french-fries-fosselizing-under-the-seats minivan may not be anything more than convenient, alright? HOWEVER!

Those of us that drive the minivan, even the minivan with a broken sensor, we know that there is just something about them that makes us feel a teensy bit proud. Because every time we get in our minivans, whether they have all the bells and whistles, or perhaps just a solitary bell on its very last leg, we know that we are in the trenches. Life teems from the backseat and KidzBop screams from the speakers.

We make the minivan hot. Our families make the minivan hot. This season of life makes the minivan hot.

Hawt if you will.

And that is all.

So tell me, you minivan driving moms and dads? What about your minivan makes you feel hot/hawt?


  1. My minivan makes me feel hot because it is paid off, baby! whoo-hoo! I have never been more in love with such a hoopty car. I mean van.

  2. Elizabeth Ward says

    I am getting our minvan detailed next week. That is hot. I am so excited! (I know I’m a geek) I just love a clean car. Now, how do I keep the kids from junking it up again? Perhaps I’ll start hauling them around in Adam’s car?
    Adam’s last car had the backing up sensor and that thing was awesome. It had heated seats too. I miss it.

    • I have to give you a shout out, Elizabeth, for having the cleanest minivan in America. I was always impressed when I saw it, especially know that you were hauling around a gaggle of boys inside.myou win the award.

      And yes, heated seats are kinda cool…


  3. I miss my minivan. Did I tell you my husband sold it and gave me his Tahoe so he could get a new one. I’ve never fully bonded with my “new” Tahoe, though ive had many people tell me how cool it it is. But i dont want cool! I want HOT!

  4. Stefanie A. says

    Well put, Kelli! I resisted getting a minivan, but have grown to love mine through the years. I love that I can haul around my kids plus a few of their friends with no problem. Mine is also showing its age……..Parker recently wrote his sister’s name in pen on the back of one of the seats. I suppose that gives my van more character?!?! I’m going to go with that anyway instead of freaking out! (= Love ya!

    • Character. That’s what minivans have. Anyone can have a shiny, pristine convertible. But a messy, marked up minivan is truly something to behold! 😉

  5. I’m borrowing a friend’s minivan today. First time I’ve driven one in a long time. It has a sunroof! I’m not hot. Just dorky, but I embrace it. Speaking of… This line made me giggle.
    “Apparently my rear sensor was on the fritz.”

    • I am not surprised. It made me laugh for the same reasons. The fact that you picked up on that makes me smile. 🙂

  6. My minivan made me feel abandoned when the engine block cracked : ) That was after the parking sensor went nuts, the heated seats burned out, the cd player started smoking, and the electric sliding door was no longer electrified. Did I mention the crack that went complete from one side of the windshield to the other? Now I have an 11 year old Suburban that is complete with non molded french fries and melted skittles in the carpet. It never had heated seats or a back up sensor, but there are no cracks….yet.

  7. Loved this post. Along with mystery food bits, my mini van also comes equipped with pine needles from the Xmas tree, numerous colouring books (that are soggy from boots & umbrellas), this week’s favourite stuffies and miscellaneous scarves & singleton mitts. I AM Hawt 🙂

  8. Mine has a distinct odor of spoiled milk as of late and I can’t find the source!

  9. HA! I posted about my minivan today too Kel! It’s the newness of it all. Don’t worry, I gave ya a shout out. Sorry we keep posting on the same topics here lately. I’m seriously not trying to! It’s kind of wigging me out though. I mean great minds think a like….but yeah. And on my rockin’ hot new (to me) minivan, I like my heated leather seats and my stereo. How smooth she drives. I can’t even hear it when it’s running. I love how I can move the seats all around in multiple configurations. I love my sunken trunk and I ESPECIALLY love the free car washes at the Honda dealership so long as I own the van. Sigh….Just livin’ the dream baby….

    • When you have a minivan, you can’t help but proclaim it from the mountain tops, right? I totally understand. Write away. You’ll feel better. 🙂

  10. Mine makes me feel hot when I forgot to turn off the toasty butt function (aka seat warmers…but “toasty butt” is much more fun, eh?). I don’t find old food nearly as often as I find crayons in colors I never realized Crayola produced. The cool roof bike rack and my Backcountry Gear sticker that is cracking finish off the luster. OH! And we can’t forget the gunk on the grill from what I can only assume used to be a bullfrog who met his unfortunate demise late one night on Ramblewood Road and rode my front bumper straight to frog heaven. On the rare occasion when it makes me feel less than hot, I put on MC Hammer or C & C Music Factory and I. Jam. Out.

    • In this one instance and THIS ONE INSTANCE ALONE, your aversion to Frank Sinatra is entirely warranted. Minivan mom listening to Frank while driving – big nerd. (Like me, for example).

      Minivan mom listening to MC Hammer and C & C Music Factory – smaller nerd…


  11. My smokin hot mini van has been gracefully etched by bike handles in a lovely white on top of the bright red paint. It has seen some of the far points of the USA. Has made so many memories, of course some we may wish to forget, but faithfully arrived at uncountable destinations.
    On one occasion the back up sensors were going off like crazy, (mine has levels…1. Your getting close, 2. You’re getting really close 3. You should stop you’re gonna hit it now) it was pouring down rain though, and I kept looking behind me and using all mirrors. Kept proceeding but very slowly because it was a creepy feeling going off like that. All of a sudden a 3 year old boy came out from behind my van on his tricycle!
    So I am incredibly grateful that all the bells and whistles still work (well with the exception of the passenger side seat warmer, but hey I’m the driver) on my shiny chrome wheeled, very dated but loved, 11 year old, RED hot mini van!

    • Mmmmm…

      Red hot.

      And yes, small children hiding behind my van do make me slightly more nervous. So I’ve become that mom who hangs out the window barking at her kids to stay within sight before backing out of the driveway.