By: Anne Marie Holloway
I think the most stressful part of my day is the minivan ride. I’m serious. I know it sounds ludicrous. Yep, I know it’s totally nuts!
I don’t even go very far each day, but I find I spend a lot of time in my car transporting my kiddos from home to school, school to home and home to various activities. My children are only involved in one sport and one additional extracurricular activity each. But from September to June we spend most of our time Monday through Saturday traveling back and forth between three schools, some field or indoor sports complex, and other various locations.
I can easily drive over 30 miles in one day without ever leaving Norton! It’s crazy, I know. I actually dread driving. I do not have a crazy phobia of driving itself, rather just a fear of developing permanent physical and mental health issues from transporting my blessed offspring from place to place.
Aside from the obvious stresses of time deadlines, traffic, gas prices and car issues, my rather cohesive, cooperative and amicable group of kiddos and I turn into gremlins in the minivan. (And yes, you read that right – I included myself in the gremlin group classification). It’s like, POOF! The minute the van door opens it begins… minivan mayhem!!
It was not always this way. When my little munchkins were babies, going for rides in the minivan was a peaceful respite. I would buckle them in safely with their sippy cups and books, then stop at the “Dunky” to get my coffee and happily drive along.
Then something happened – I don’t know when, but I do know why. I think my kiddos smartened up and realized that Mom’s “Law” could not be fully enforced when she was driving… soooo, being the opportunists that they are, my children capitalized (and still do) on a chance to drive me and each other crazy.
And let’s not forget my alter ego: the minivan me. I find myself driven into a state of constant irrational irritability when in the car. I find myself threatening to take away things like Christmas or grounding them until they are elderly.
While driving, my husband and I scheme like mad scientists. We spend our time together designing plans on how to build a minivan that decreases the chaos and increases the “Zen-like feelings” of family togetherness. Maybe a minivan that has a white noise or cricket sound machine. Hey! I know! How about passenger seats that are in a single row so no one can touch or look at the other? Or my favorite, a minivan designed with a limousine-type rising and lowering sound-proof glass that separates the children from the grownups…
In all seriousness, minivans should come with a warning label. Yep – it is just plain awful.
Anyways, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I am choosing to be optimistic! We know all too well how fast these days fly by, and before we know it, we will be looking at June square in the eye again…right? Some day in the not-so-near future, summer will show us its lazy, hazy days and car trips will be reduced by half (big sigh here).
Hopefully then, I will begin to feel like my old self again: warm and fuzzy and loving. Just like that little creature Gizmo from the 1984 movie “Gremlins.” Remember him????
I just better warn the kiddos not to bring any water with them while riding in the mini-van!