Saying Goodbye … To My Minivan

A few weeks after our boys were born, my husband and I, exhausted and bleary-eyed, made a trip to Slidell and bought a used Toyota Sienna. It had low mileage and was fully loaded. Leather seats, a CD player AND a tape deck (hey, this was 2007 and it was three years old), and best of all…power sliding doors. I had been looking forward to this purchase ever since my first ultrasound, and “we’re gonna need a minivan” had been one of the random thoughts that had raced through my brain as we saw those three tiny heartbeats.

That was then…

That minivan witnessed so many events in the life of my kids. There was there road trip to San Antonio when the boys were five months old that could have easily ended my relationship with my best friend (screaming babies, a case of strep throat for her, and did I mention it was a work trip for me?) And a minor accident on the way to pick them up from school one day that resulted in being sued (still mad about that one.) Happier memories too, of course. Road trips to the beach. First days of school. Tiny car seats, all in a row. Triple strollers, double strollers, single strollers, the choo choo wagon, all of the different modes of transportation we had for triplets that wouldn’t have fit in any other vehicle.

By the time eleven years had passed, the van had Froot Loops and crackers permanently embedded in every nook and cranny. Every time I took it to vacuum it out, I’m sure at least a cubic yard of food was sucked out of seat cracks and floorboards. The goo that formed in cupholders – what was that? How? The third row was a dark and terrifying place that I never dared venture.

I’d given up hope of ever selling it anyway. It had well over 150,000 miles and countless problems. The passenger side sliding door no longer opened. The windshield wiper fluid no longer sprayed. The heat didn’t come out by my feet, so my toes froze in the winter. The paint on the hood was worn off. Forget about listening to any music from my phone (remember, tape deck and CD player only!) I was looking at getting over $1000 of front end work done on it (thank you, New Orleans streets), it needed new tires and I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to pass the next inspection.

…this is now.

So once my husband’s car was paid off, we decided it was time to start looking. I always assumed I’d get another minivan. Why not? With three kids in soccer, it was a natural choice. But then a little voice in my head said, “why not something else? Something with better gas mileage?” And while some people say “I’ll never drive a minivan!” I always said, “I’ll never drive an SUV!” But never say never, because now I’m the ecstatic owner of a mid-size sport utility vehicle. I still need three rows, and sadly, station wagons like the one we had as a kid just aren’t that common anymore.

I love my new Kia Sorento. (And no, this is not a sponsored post.) I love the 25 miles to the gallon that I get. I love that I can plug my phone in and listen to podcasts. I have a backup camera!  The absolute best is going to the grocery store or Costco and putting everything in that nice flat cargo area, not the well in the back that the minivan had. (Well, we could have stowed the third row of the van, but there was eleven years of crap stored back there.) The boys are allowed to eat in the car but only neatly. And they must take all trash with them.

Was I a little sad when we turned over the keys to the van (in exchange for a whopping $750)? To be honest, not as much as I thought I’d be. I was sadder when I had to make my first payment. But sometimes moving on is a good thing. Especially when it involves Bluetooth, USB ports, and no mystery gunk in the cupholders.

Pam Kocke
My name is Pam, and I live in Algiers Point with my husband George and my identical triplets Linus, Oliver, and Miles. I work from home as a Happiness Engineer for Automattic. I enjoy reading and photography and sewing (and blogging!)


  1. I just traded my Prius for a minivan and couldn’t be happier. It is a plug-in hybrid so I was ecstatic that I can get 30 miles to a charge before the hybrid engine kicks in (with 34 mpg). I really wanted an SUV but couldn’t find anything with good gas mileage AND 3rd row seats. I NEVER thought I’d drive a minivan but I’m definitely a convert.


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