Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Becoming Who We Are, Not Who We Thought We Were

Ever think of yourself one way and then realize that reality is different?  This is different than giving up on something, or dashed hopes.  This is a self-image thing...or rather, in this case, a family image.  

When we were planning our wedding, my dear now-husband and I had been camping all of one time.  That is a story in itself (hiking into camp after dark, trying to cook an entire dinner on a tiny camp stove that seemed more like a bunsen burner from high school chemistry, and "bathing" in frigid Maine lake waters).   Basking in the glow of that outdoor experience, we decided that in addition to the traditional wedding registry at Macy's, we would register at REI.  So we did and got so much cool stuff....all of which we have used about 3 times in our almost 13 years of marriage.  So, while we wanted to be that couple that threw everything in the car and camped at the drop of hat, we realized we really were the couple that planned ahead and cozied up in the comfort of a B & B instead.  (And really, who decided the size of our "2 man tent"  -- you've got to be kidding me!)

Fast forward 13 years to June 1 - and we are now the proud owners of a minivan.  Yikes!  A minivan??? Yep, and we are loving it!

Here is our progression of cars:  First married:  family oldsmobile and motorcycle.  Then gave oldsmobile back to family (lucky little sister!) and got older sister's tiny honda something, still have motorcycle.  Move to LA, give up on motorcycle, husband gets much beloved BMW 635csi (an awesome car from mid-90's, if you know about this sort of thing).  Then we went through series of borrowed cars from my traveling parents.   Rich's beloved BMW was totaled - by a minivan, of all things, rear-ending him at a crosswalk) and he bought another much loved and much worked on older mercedes.   I had a small, older audi - loved that car!  Time for first kid - safety, safety, safety - welcome Volvo station wagon!  Next, twins are born - bye-bye Mercedes, welcome VW Eurovan - the "flying brick," I like to call it (NOT a minivan, by the way).  Oh, and now husband drives the station wagon.  

So here we are - lovin' the Eurovan life, right?  Road trips - picnics in the car (the rear 2 rows face eachother, there is a pop-up table), camping and sleeping on the fold out double bed!  The perfect hippy family!  Right?  Well, wrong...or at least not really.  We already went over the camping thing - it just isn't happening.  And did you know, you can't really pop-up the table with car seats strapped onto the seats.  Plus with 3 kids and 2 spots next to the table, there is always fighting over who gets the coveted seats.  Maybe we bought it too early in the kid's lives.  Or maybe, just maybe, we aren't really hippies...  In the end, we've decided that the Eurovan itself really let us down.  I mean what kind of hippy car costs almost $3,000 a year to maintain?? 

So now we own a 2009 Honda Odyssey...and the car journey ends (for a bit).  This car is great, fun and has so many neat features - things I pooh-poohed before like automatic doors are totally worth it!  And of course, on a hot day I need to unroll my car windows 50 feet from the car - that blast of hot air in the face is totally annoying, you know?  

So now that I have given up on being a Eurovan family, do I totally embrace the minivan life?  What does that even mean, really?

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