Saturday, July 21, 2018

An Automotive Evolution

When A. and I met almost 17 years ago now, I was driving a Nissan Altima. It was a very practical car. At the time. Sure, the trunk was annoying because it was somehow hard to angle things into it, but I could always just use the backseat to haul things around. It fit five people, though I never even thought about that because I never had that many people in it.

Then Cubby was born.

I drove the Nissan for about a year after that before deciding I would really like a car in which I could load a baby into a car seat without awkward lifting and stretching. Also, the trunk was really awful for putting a stroller into, and with a kid in the backseat, that was no longer an option. Alsoalso, the A/C had stopped working.

So I bought the Awesome Subaru. And it was Awesome. So much room! So much cargo space in the back! So perfect!

Even after Charlie arrived, the Subaru was still just fine. It also sat five people. Barely, but there were only four of us.

Then I got pregnant with Jack and realized fitting three car seats in the back of the Subaru was going to be Not So Awesome. So I campaigned for a minivan, which A. bought. And it was perfect (albeit rusty). So much room! So much cargo space in back! A seven-passenger vehicle is great!

Then--I bet you can see the progression here-- the minivan died of cancerous rust and I got pregnant with Poppy. I realized that adding a fourth child to a seven-passenger minivan was going to mean losing all my cargo space in the back.

So we bought the Honda Pilot. And it was just right. So much room! So much cargo space in the back! It carried eight passengers, and we were only a family of six.

Then, just last week, the (still Awesome, but less so for a family of six) Subaru suffered a fatal computer collapse and is no longer legal to drive. So we had to look for another new vehicle. And we didn't feel that the Honda really had enough cargo space because we can't stow away all the seats in the back, as we actually need them for our children.

So where do you go from an 8-passenger SUV? Only one place to go. Up. Waaay up.

Behold, the beast.

That is a 12-passenger Chevy Express 3500. The "3500" indicates that it's heavy-duty. It's essentially a heavy-duty truck with a lot of seats, which means that it can tow easily. 

When A. showed me a photo of it before buying it, I said, "Damn, that's a van, man." It's not a minivan. It's not a van trying to pass as an SUV. It is 100%, unapologetically a real van. And it is huge.

When I was talking to my sister about it, I probably repeated a few times that it was a really big van, possibly trying to convince myself of this fact. Like, yes, I am going to be driving a really big van. After the third or so repetition of this, my sister replied, "I hate to break it to you, Kristin, but you have a really big family."

Yeah. I guess so*. And they love the van.

Charlie asked if we were going to live in it. No, son, although I suppose it's nice to have the option if things go terribly wrong on our upcoming cross-country road trip.

Speaking of the road trip, we can now rent the largest U-Haul trailer to haul the remainder of our things cross-country. The van can pull it. The van can pull anything.

So I am now a mom with four kids who drives a full-size, heavy-duty van with a towing hitch. I did not see this coming seventeen years ago.

Life is funny like that.

* Although of course, with a 12-passenger van, we could double our family size and still not have to get a new vehicle. A. pointed this out, and my response was dismissive laughter. I do not feel the need to have six more children to fill the van to capacity.


Laura Darling said...

I had a friend growing up who was one of five and her family had a giant van like that and we LOVED it! Her mom was also the lucky one who also got to drive us to youth group trips and swim meets and all that since she could fit so many of us!! Enjoy it!!

Anonymous said...

I have a Ford in this size, second one I have owned actually. Funny enough you are going to wish for more space eventually. Never seems to be enough space when I am shopping with a lot of bodies already in the van, plus the usual emergency supplies I keep in there. I keep several of those stackable plastic storage bins in the very back to corral groceries and any other things I pick up when shopping.

Mary W said...

I'm disappointed. I was expecting a retrofitted school bus. (Now I have the Partridge Family theme song going through my head.)

We had five kids and had full-size station wagons growing up. That was in the days before kids seats were a factor, so we just tumbled around in the back until we fit. Seat belts optional.

Anonymous said...

You can always fill the extra space with the kids' friends.

tu mere said...

Awesome that A. was able to find and purchase the huge van, and before the trip to boot. Y'all must be living a good life for everything to fall in place! You're so right about not needing to fill the van with more children, at least from my perspective. I know it's silly to say, but, try to get some rest before y'all's epic journey.

Europafox said...

Ok - you shall now be known as 'Baddass Trucker Mom' ;)

Natalie said...

Careful, a family in our neighborhood has a 15 seater van and consequently is roped into driving to every single youth activity for our church haha

Anonymous said...

My friends have 6 kids, and ended up buying one of those passenger vans used for hotel shuttles. They loved it.