“Wow, nice ride!” a dad-friend said to me in the church parking lot one Sunday.
I never imagined that having a station wagon would be “cool.” The closest thing I had to cool was a two-door sports car with T-tops — that was more than 15 years ago, before I moved on to sensible and professional four-door sedans.
When my first two children came along, I lamented not having a minivan, not only because it would be really useful but also (as I imagined) because it was a membership prerequisite for “Club Mom.” Sometimes I felt like I just didn’t measure up. (OK, honestly, even though I’m over my van envy, I still feel that way occasionally.)
Before my youngest was born, I considered the van idea again. However, I was commuting two-plus hours a day at that time and didn’t think a van was practical. So I simply got a larger sedan that would fit three car seats across the back. It was an older car, powerful and with an automatic transmission, and a bit on the buoyant side.
It wasn’t long before I realized that having three little boys across the back seat was somewhat of a nightmare. The youngest had to be in the middle so I could reach out and touch him. But that meant he was right in the line of fire between the older two, who could also reach out and touch him. Whichever of the big boys sat behind me would kick my seat incessantly. I knew it was not always on purpose — booster seats don’t have leg rests, so how comfortable can they really be? — but that wasn’t at the top of my mind every time I felt those little feet pummeling my back.
I endured this for 18 months while imagining how to implement some sort of separation between front and back à la limousines, taxi cabs and police cars, before I had to face the fact: It was time to revisit the seven-passenger vehicle plan.
After much consideration, I chose a “practical and safe” (according to an automotive.com review) station wagon with a rear-facing third-row bench seat. Though someone else had depreciated the car for more than five years for me and it now features the same interior design theme as our home (toys, books, crumbs), it’s still the nicest car I’ve ever had.
There are more bells and whistles than I currently need, such as a built-in programmable garage door opener (we don’t have a garage); cruise control (not really necessary on Route 119); and sound system controls on the steering wheel (I don’t feel that the center console is too far to reach).
I looked at my church friend quizzically for a moment. Could he be serious? He didn’t even know about the car’s “sporty suspension tuning and the five-speed manual transmission” on my “high-output turbo T5 model that make the car fun to drive” (also from the automotive.com review).
I simply answered, “Thanks we like it!”
I must be dwelling in a parallel universe — to the one in which I existed pre-children — if a Carol-Brady car is “haute.”
The mother of three sons, Caroline Poser lives with her family in Groton. She works full-time as a software marketing professional and moonlights as an author. For more information: www.CarolinePoser.com.