I was walking down the street with my dad, and I saw one of the most beautiful cars I had ever laid eyes on. This is when my 15-year-old self first fell in love with a sports car. It was perfectly white, looked fast, and had a spoiler. I had to have it. I could see the gleem in my dad's eyes too.
That Pontiac Firebird did make it home to us that week, but it was officially my mom's car. At first I felt like I had died inside. There was no way she would let me drive it.
I started saving up my money. I would have to buy that car from her, and I was going to do it. I went to the guidance counselor's office in my school to get a worker's permit, and I found myself my first job.
Every dollar I made went straight to the savings account. I worked as many hours as I could over a year and a half, and when my mom decided that she wanted the luxury of a four door car instead of a two door sports car that she had do a deep squat to get into, I was ready with a check in hand.
Finally, the car I had dreamed of became mine. I found other people who shared my interest in the car known as an F-body. I joined local car clubs, usually being the youngest person in them and typically one of the only females. I was surrounded by men who geeked out on things like turbochargers, NOSS, kits, exhaust, and more.
Then the street racing scene hit. The movies The Fast and the Furious and Gone is 60 Seconds had explosive popularity, and my hometown was whirling about with American muscle cars, souped up coupes, and modified imports. And we all hung out at the abandoned grocery store parking lots late at night.
All in all, I was in car heaven and eventually married a car enthusiast who I met along the way.
After we got married and found out that having two sports cars was pretty useless in the Colorado snowstorms and blizzards. I moved on to a Jeep.
I said I would never be a minivan mom
Over the years I went through a few different cars, and we started a new beginning as well - a family with little ones to carry around. I started to have pity on my friends who still owned sports cars as they told me their stories of how they managed to try and get a carseat to fit into their two door coupes.
We had two children under two, and I learned that I also loathed the process of carseats. I am so thankful for their protection, but juggling carseats wasn't quite the dream I had when I thought of becoming a mom.
When we started talking about baby number three, that's when the minivan word popped up. I remembered the days as a sports car enthusiast who met my husband at the racetrack. And I vowed that I would never ever own a minivan.
But my husband kept brining it up. He knows cars inside and out. If anyone in our family needs a new vehicle, they come to him. After they give him their dream car list, he makes it happen. He doesn't even work in the car industry, but he is who everyone trusts.
So when he told me that a minivan was a perfect fit for me, I kind of died on the inside all over again.
I started talking to my minivan mom friends. The more I thought about it, I realized that a lot of my close mom friends did drive minivans. They were moms I looked up to, and they were also moms who did a lot of research. And I really liked them no matter what car they owned.
One day there was a minivan parked in my driveway to test drive. My husband couldn't even get me on the lot, so he brought it to me. We drove around, and I thought it was fine. I decided this was his way of making room for us to have baby number three, so I reluctantly told him we could get it.
The first day I installed the carseat, I was expecting the three minute wrangling match. In about 10 seconds the carseat was securely popped into place. Was it possible that there was actually a car made for carseats?!? I double checked. It was level and tighter than I could ever get it into my Jeep.
The first 20 times I pulled into a parking lot, I had to remind myself I didn't have to act as a bodyguard to the car next to us because my children didn't have any doors to swing open. I just pushed a button and the door opened automatically by gently sliding back instead thrusting open like a weapon.
I found that roadtrips were more tolerable as I could separate the children more, giving them space to sprawl out their activities on their own rows. When they saw me pull down the TVs, we all had a bit of roadtrip bliss.
And then my husband came up with awesome minivan hacks. Like the time he opened the trunk, rotated the seats back and installed the backseat carseats without crawling in the back. Genius!
I even have enough cupholders for my giant waterbottle, my cup of coffee, and all of the kid cups.
When it comes down to it, I have to admit. I really actually love being a minivan mom. If there's anything sports cars have taught me, it's that I really love traveling in comfort and feeling protected -- two things that they lacked.
And humble pie sometimes actually tastes quite delicious.