COVID-19 · family · post-op life · slice of life

This Season of Life Calls for a Minivan #SOL20

While many people profess their utter disgust or unwavering love for minivans, I’ve been in like with our minivan from the start. We bought ours in November 2018, when Ari was a little over a year old and we couldn’t bear to take another week-long trip with a stuffed-to-the-gills car that had a stuffed-to-the-gills Thule box on top of it. I declared — repeatedly — that we were in the season of life for a minivan. Quietly, I told myself the next season of my life would include a much cuter car.

THIS season of our lives — the season of stay-at-home orders — calls for a minivan. You see, yesterday, after we dropped my husband off at Wegmans* so he could do the food shopping, I made a quick stop at a local bakery where I purchased bribes sweet treats for everyone and a latte (Mama’s gotta have caffeine!) for myself. I drove back to the Wegmans parking lot where I made the kids — mostly Ari — promise they wouldn’t get crumbs all over the folded-down third row and trunk. Ari repeated, “I’m not gonna get crumbs on the floor. I promise! I’m gonna be neat with my brownie!”

Once we were in the parking lot, I reminded them of the rules:

  1. No one under the age of 18 is permitted in the front seat even though the car was turned off.
  2. Kids must stay in the car the entire time — no matter what.
  3. Eat neatly.

Once Isabelle and Ari agreed to the rules, I unbuckled Ari and had him follow Isabelle into the back of the minivan. I popped the hatch and slid myself into the trunk since it’s easier like that with my cane. From there, I laid out the snacks and handed out copious amount of napkins to the kids. Isabelle neatly ate a cookie that was larger than her head. I handed Ari sections of his brownie so that I could contain the mess. Thankfully, he voluntarily used napkins and allowed me to wipe his hands and mouth. I gobbled down a GF/vegan brownie that was terrible. (Don’t get me started on why I have a deep disdain for gluten-free baked goods that are also vegan. It’s more than a blog post for me… it would turn into a term paper.) So, I delighted in my latte and my company.

Sunday Morning’s Minivan Picnic

Just as I finished cleaning Ari’s hands, Isabelle shared an idea she thought was brilliant. “I think we should get a table for the back of the minivan so we can have more minivan picnics,” she said. (We had done a lunch picnic on a blanket in the back of our minivan the previous day so I guess she was sensing this was going to become a theme.)

“Yeah!” said Ari.

“Where are we going to put a table?” I asked.

Isabelle motioned to the area where my legs were, then she declared, “And I think we’ll need chairs too.”

Did she think this was a RV?!?!?

“We’re not getting a table and chairs for the back of the minivan,” I said.

Though, it might not be a bad idea if our Governor keeps extending the stay-at-home order since minivan picnics might be our best form of out-of-the-house recreation that still allows us to practice social distancing.

*= I am not quite ready for hours on-end at home with Ari, which is why I volunteered to take the kids in the car to the grocery store with Marc. Worst possible case scenario, he could come out of the store early. Thankfully, he made it through the entire list since we went to the store early enough in the day.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.org on Tuesdays for more slice of life stories.

25 thoughts on “This Season of Life Calls for a Minivan #SOL20

  1. Another treasured memory of this time of pandemic, Stacey! Minivan picnics! Love the way this story unfolds and leads to the precious and happy idea from Isabelle to get a table for more minivan picnics. Then your inner thinking- “What, does she think this is a RV?!” Great slice. Glad Marc was able to get all the groceries- that is a feat nowadays!

    1. Yes, it is a feat! I think he managed to get everything on the list this week. Obviously, we were a bit flexible with some of the items on there. You have to be willing to make substitutions these days.

  2. Minivans are memory makers! My teenagers remember our times in the minivan fondly, as your kids will remember their minivan picnics. Embrace the minivan…. the cute car will come when they are older!

  3. Minivan picnics – what a concept! I loved my minivans and sometimes wish I had one now as a Grandma. I’m ready for some out-of-the-house recreation too.

    1. There are some open lots next to our new house. I’ve noticed one of our neighbors out flying a kite a couple of times a week. Maybe kite flying is something you could try. It’s a good activity for these days of social distancing.

  4. Minivan picnic! Love it. When we had our first child, we had a VW bug! That didn’t last long. There were no minivans in 1969. We bought a station wagon. Remember those?
    I love how you can make lemonade memories with your kids.

  5. I still think Isabelle can make the table and chairs. I had a few students last year who made cardboard chairs that were tiny but sturdy! I get it that you are in like with your car, but that cute car of the future would have no room for a picnic!

  6. I love the idea of minivan picnics, Stacey. I think Isabelle is on to something! You are recording wonderful memories that will carry you through this rough time. Stay-at-home is getting to me. I am taking more walks with the dogs and doing a lot of social Zooms. Cannot wait to get together – hopefully, before the summer’s end.

  7. Thanks for sharing your fond memory during this challenging time for everyone. It brought me back to the days when I would be a taxi and shuttle my children everywhere in my minivan. Enjoy your time with them while they are young. As they say, it goes by so quickly!

  8. Love a good car / picnic memory. Back before seatbelts were the law, my sister and I would have “tea parties” on a low table set in the spacious area created by the folded down middle and back seats in our family’s station wagon. Does anyone remember the cars with the seat that faced the back window? Sounds like your children were born 30 years too late, but just in time to be super safe with 3-point carseats and lots of gluten free and vegan options. ::wink::

  9. Oh yes! I remember my minivan days. We didn’t get it until the kids were a bit older than yours are now, so no minivan picnics, but it always came in handy for sports equipment, guitar amps and speakers, and lots and lots of books that I carted to classes and workshops. Always love hearing your stories.

  10. I never had a minivan, but I had a couple of ministation wagons that were probably LESS stylish but OH so practical for sports equipment, home renovation supplies, yard sale finds, and yes, picnics in the back, especially when it was raining! Great post that brings memories.

  11. We bought our mini van to take our golden retriever with us. We bragged about the comfort, drivability and economy that we encouraged two others to get one. my sister and a friend bought the same thing. We still love to drive our minivan. It’s great for getting groceries. We had a parking lot picnic in it today!

  12. I swore up and down I’d never own a mini-van! Ha! We traveled to Washington DC, to South Dakota, to that Grand Cayon, all in a mini-van. My daughters hit two deer and ditched them twice, all without any injury to themselves. They are tanks with four tires and while we’ve moved past that time, will remember that time fondly! 🙂

  13. Talk about coping-! From your impassioned declarations of the minivan season of life to silent consolations of one day having a cuter car … oh, the true mom-ness of it all. I get it. I drove a minivan for eight years. And there was only one sliding backseat door … I loved the admonishment to “eat neatly,” your disgust over the gluten-vegan brownie horror, Isabelle’s vision of a table and chairs and the “brownie larger than her head.” That footnote, about the reason for the picnic … well, let’s just say that minivan is the saving grace. And your picture (as always) is picture book worthy.

  14. When we are in Australia our current home is a minivan with a bed in the back parked outside the house of one of our sons. Quote from one of our grandson’s friend to his mum, “Will’s grandparents live on the street”! Nothing wrong with minivans…!!

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