Moms and minivans go together like peanut butter and jelly. I'll never forget when we got our first one.
I had been driving a two-door Toyota Corolla with three little girls riding in the back seat. That meant folding back the front seat, wedging 5-year-old Amy in between two carseats, then hoisting baby Lindsey into her baby seat and 3-year-old Lisa into her car seat. If I was taking Amy to preschool, I had to walk her in so I would load the kids up in our driveway, drive the ten minutes to preschool, unload them all, walk them downstairs to Amy's class, kiss goodbye, climb the stairs and reload the little girls into the backseat of the
sardine can Corolla. Family vacations in that little car were an amazing testimony to my husband's packing skilz. The Beverly Hillbillies had nothing on us!
My parents helped us buy our first used van and I felt like a QUEEN driving that white Dodge Caravan! The sliding door seemed like a garage door into the spacious interior. The kids could walk around in it! It had automatic locks and tinted windows!! We put a TON of miles on that faithful old van, driving from southern California to the Northwest every summer. Eventually, we began to be concerned about the cost of some major repairs it needed. Our youth pastor salary didn't allow for the purchase of a car - so we prayed.
At Christmas in 1997, we were given money to buy a new van! (I could tell you story after story of how God has faithfully provided for our family - this is just one among many!) A car-dealer friend told us about a van they'd taken in as a trade - a Chrysler with less than 7,000 miles on it! Oh, and by the way, it's purple.
But it was a Town & Country - top of the line - for a great price. So we swallowed our pride and bought it. If I thought I'd been in the lap of luxury when we got our first van, this put me right up there with the other fancy people. Leather captain's chairs, two sliding doors and an electronic thingy that opened and closed the rear window vents. Slick. Now my problem was feeling all that driving this very cool van. Only the color kept my pride in check.
I became known as the mom who drove around Palm Springs in the purple van. There weren't too many (I wonder why?) so I was easy to spot. As the girls got older, they told their dad not to drive it - it was embarrassing for their father to drive a purple car. But it was the most comfortable thing to drive you can imagine! It served us faithfully for thirteen years. We put almost 200,000 miles on it!
But as most good things must come to an end, our need for a minivan has done just that. 'The Purple' as we've lovingly called it all these years, is going to another mom who needs more room (after a few repairs and fix-ups).
When Jeff drove it away yesterday, I blinked back a couple of tears. Then I quickly grabbed my phone to ask him to take a picture of it before he walked away. I'm not sure we've ever included it in any of our family snapshots! That purple van holds a TON of memories - vacations, van-loads of volleyball, basketball and softball teams, trips to the beach, fieldtrips, spilled Cokes and Adventures in Odyssey stories.
I'll miss you, Miss Purple. You carried us as royalty. I'm sorry I was ever ashamed of you.