There are many reasons why I did not want a minivan.
Then I sat in one , drove one, and fell in love. The 3rd seat folds into the floor people! I don't care if it looks uncool, I can pack ANYTHING in there. I can give anyone rides to places. Also, I'm 38, a mom of 2 and I really don't give a crap if my car is cool or not.
When we first got Ol' Blue, my daughter sat in the second row, which was nice enough to have built in car seats, and my son always headed for the third row. When he was in the third row, he was in his own world. It's really hard to hear back there, and vice versa, its hard for me to hear him from the front.
I kind of missed him a little, but since he's turned 13 and is allowed to sit in the front seat, I've been spending a little more time with him. When he gets home from school, I usually ask the normal questions, "How was your day?", " Did anything fun and exciting happen today?" For some reason, I have not found the greatest time to ask these questions. I have tried right after school , when everything is fresh in his mind, or later in the day when he's had some time to relax a little. I get the standard, "good" or "nothing". Ah well.
However, since the front seat ban was lifted, I have noticed that he just offers up information all on his own. It's great, I'm not pulling it out of him, he's just telling me the highlights or low lights of his day. We've had some great conversations, sometimes it's about school issues, sometimes its about Star Wars. I love them all.
My daughter has also been taking advantage of minivan confession time. When it's just her and I and it's quiet, she'll let me know her concerns and fears. It's really an amazing thing because my daughter seems so sure of herself and confident, I was really taken aback when I realized that she actually has a lot of anxiety.
She has recently shared with me that she stresses out about each and every paper that she does in school. She is so worried that she might get something wrong. I was shocked. We are so laid back about grades (she's in first grade!) and as far as I knew , we weren't putting any pressure on her to be the best or perfect.
I asked her if she felt pressure from us and she said "no." I asked her why she felt so nervous about getting something wrong, told her that mistakes are how we learn, and reassured her that we are always proud of her as long as she's learning, it's not about the grade, it's about learning.
Her reply, "Mom, you should know by now, I like to do things and I like to be good at them."
Busted! I do know this about her, but for some reason I had only applied it to physical things, like dance, riding a bike, softball, etc. It hadn't occurred to me that she was like this about everything. See? She even wants to be good at parenting herself.
Though I think that this work ethic will serve her well in life, I hate that at 7 she's putting so much pressure on herself. She appears so happy and carefree all the time, as a mom, it hurts to think she's struggling and anxious on the inside.
I think our minivan chats help her. I almost want to take a "Hey Baby, school is groovy, who cares about grades?" attitude with her. (When reading that quote, you should probably use Shaggy's voice from Scooby-Doo, it helps), but I know it's just going to take time until she's comfortable and confident. I almost can't wait until she maybe gets a bad grade on something and learns it's not the end of the world, is that wrong?
I know someday, I will say goodbye to the minivan, but I will always cherish all the wonderful wonderful talks I have had with my kids in there and I will never regret becoming a suburban stereotype.