I've been trying to detect if I have any deep existential crises prompted by our acquisition of this van, but I don't. (It's not really like going from a minivan to a van could make you less cool, could it? And, having never known or cared much about which cars were cool anyway, I never actually felt bad about driving a minivan either.) We've known for many months now that we were going to have to get a bigger vehicle if we wanted to go places together, and we've gotten used to the idea. I think my favorite part of the whole experience was going to the car place, telling the salesman that we were expecting our seventh child, and seeing absolutely no change (surprise, dismay, disdain, whatever) in his face. He said, "Oh yes, I just talked with another family this morning that was expecting their seventh too." ("Um…obviously," I was thinking. "Why else would they be here buying a van?")
Another happy occurrence was how much we liked the guy that sold the car to us. I hate and dread going car shopping, and had been steeling myself to deal with the usual faux-friendly, pushy and/or snobbish, condescending-to-women salesman to which I have become accustomed. (I know all salesmen aren't like that. But we always seem to encounter them anyway.) But this guy (his name was Jack Ivers; you should meet him) was totally wonderful. He didn't talk down to us. He was knowledgeable but not glib. He knew when to help and when to leave us alone. He talked about his grandkids. We bonded. :) When I saw him a few days later I felt like I was seeing my long-lost uncle or something! So that was nice.
What has further pleasantly surprised me is how much I like this van. I have never looked forward to driving a van, but I love this one. I like the color and I like how much room there is even in the backseats, and I love the backup camera and the front sonar so I'm not always (as) afraid of crashing into things. Sam took me out driving after we got it so I could practice parking and maneuvering around, and I'm getting better all the time. I felt like I was in Driver's Ed again, but with a nicer teacher. :) We even found some crowded church parking lots in which to test my skill. And I didn't hit anything! Yet.
And in spite of its enormity, it actually fits in our garage! Alongside our other car! We couldn't believe it.
So, hooray for vans! And what a cute little stair-step family. I love every last one of them.