At midnight, the boys and I got our bags from a slow baggage claim while my husband went to get the car. When he texted that he was on his way, we went outside, and within seconds our thirteen year old shouted, “Here he comes!”
Faster than expected.
I looked into the darkness outside the garage but didn’t see him. “Are you sure?”
“It’s the only minivan in Colorado that goes 90 miles an hour.”
Family humming of Raiders of the Lost Ark commenced, as if we all knew what was called for.
My car stinking of acetone nail polish remover, and my eight year old son weeping in the back, I realized yet again the complexities of parenting. When I first discovered his drawings a few hours before, I was enraged.
Black Sharpie artwork all over the third row seat. A mustached pirate in a big hat holding an A- paper on the leather headrest. A large A+ on the side of of the car. “You are awsom” and a smiley face just below on the plastic armrest. Two eye balls peering out from the back of the middle seat. How did I not feel those eyes watching for an entire week?
I wanted to cross out “awsom” and replace it with “dead.” Or correct his spelling.
There will be no trading-in the red minivan, but I am not alone. Other mothers have suffered the same misfortune, stuck with old minivans because of the sins of their children. They offered remedies. A few pointed out that his artistic message was at least positive. No bad words. No sad faces.
And here he was unrepentant, sobbing that I had erased something he had worked so hard on and that made him happy every time he got in the car. His own little sanctuary that lasted for a week.
And so I stared, wondering which parenting path to take, and eventually patch-working together a response, likely muddied by too much nail polish remover.
Driving home in our minivan last night, my son asked, “Why do Dads always tell jokes about minivans?”
“Because the only people who drive minivans are moms who need to cart around their kids to swimming or soccer or piano lessons. And no one thinks moms are cool.”
“It depends on the mom,” he said with great thought.
“Yep,” but I didn’t press my luck.
“And I like our minivan.”