Ode to My Minivan

By Cassie Burkhardt

Featured Art: Drive Time by Abby Pennington

You are slightly shorter than a Boston Whaler but just as difficult to park. When we’ve piled three kids in you and Frozen II’s going on the DVD, we might as well head Into the Unknown, which is what every day of parenting feels like anyway.

You are so roomy my children could Irish stepdance comfortably inside you, and so filthy cheddar Goldfish could spawn from your cupholders or several strains of bacteria from their stinky feet, socks thrown at me while I’m driving. You are useless in cities, rain and snow. In fact, you cannot drive over a single snowflake without completely breaking down into a ditch two feet from the sledding hill.

When your automatic doors slide open, people line up for bao buns from what looks like a popup restaurant, but instead, out fall woodchips and half-eaten lunches, an entire soccer team, faces smeared with chocolate ice cream ready to decapitate the other team with their ponytails.

O minivan, your behemoth shape is literally the definition of uncool and people burst out laughing when they see you in relation to me—someone who used to be cool—someone who went to NYU, once stayed up past ten, wore tight jumpsuits to underground clubs in Paris circa I can’t remember and yet, you fit seven humans comfortably. We wedge scooters, coolers, suitcases, relatives, boogie boards, hopes and dreams, pets, stick collections, and an entire folded-up trampoline in you on a pretty regular basis.

You are a superior flu-season-nose-blowing-bunker.

One seat of you is removable to allow for side-of-the-road dining, a triage room, parking lot naps, breastfeeding marathons, poop diaper explosions and mental breakdowns.

Your front headlight? Smashed into an innocent column just minding its own business in the parking garage where I park every day because I was drinking coffee and throwing apple slices into the backseat while driving.

You have been keyed.

Just kidding, that was me again. I swiped you against a metal post upon exiting the environmental center while queuing a Cookie Monster song on Spotify.

(Did I mention this van is a boat?)

Did I mention we have survived three fender-benders, the soul-sucking school dropoff procedure, that you have popcorn and sand in every crevice, that being a mom is so underrated and hard and thankless and infinite, but also kind of hilarious, even noble if you just embrace it?

That maybe minivans are magic carpets and the horizon is getting closer.

You are a so-called Sport version of nobody cares. You are a complete and total embarrassment. And when I say I hate you, you know what I mean.

I can’t imagine life without you. I can’t wait for life without you. My next car will be a vintage Porsche Carrera, or a slim Italian bicycle, or a speck of dust.

Cassie Burkhardt is a writer currently based in Philadelphia. Her work can be found in Rattle, Cleaver Magazine, The Good Life Review, Sad Girls, and Cagibi. She is a student at the Writers Studio with poet Philip Schultz.

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