I am raising teenaged sons.
Mostly, it's an easy gig: they want high-speed internet for gaming with their friends, me to stop nagging them about the recycling, and all the food, all the time.
BC (Before COVID) they were active, busy kids: our lives revolved around hockey and soccer games, which meant a lot of time in the minivan, heading here, there, and everywhere.
Over the years, the minivan became the place where secrets spilled out, along with their water bottles. Where they commandeered the radio, the conversation, and sometimes, my sanity.
"What's said in the minivan, stays in the minivan," became our family motto: curse words were permitted, tears were shed, lectures given, arguments had. Mostly, hysterical laughter rang out, at all manner of inappropriate things, as we traveled along the 401, usually after dark.
Since the pandemic began, and our busy lives screeched to a halt, I have found that I definitely do not miss the hectic juggling, the expense, navigating snowy Ontario in Winter, or the smell of hockey gear. I think we're all enjoying a much slower pace.
But, oh, I miss those drives. There is something about soft lights, and being surrounded by darkness, that seemed to invite conversation. Intimacy, if you will.
I miss those hours with my sons, growing into men, right before my eyes. I miss sharing stories and listening to their views on all the things.
That stupid, expensive gear-filled, messy, stinky, box-on-wheels provided all of us with a safe, cozy space for our bodies, and our hearts and darn it, I miss it.
Last night, following a workday that stretched long past supper time, I pulled into the driveway and called my youngest son, from the van, "Wanna come with me, get take-out for dinner?"
He bounded out seconds later and off we went: two full loops of our small city, some Golden Arches and a search for Christmas lights later, we drew into drive. The easy hour had flown by, as we munched on french fries and drove aimlessly, chatting about nothing and everything.
As he opened to door to leave the cozy warmth of the van, my boy-child, who says little, but sees a lot, turned back: "That was fun, Mum. We should do it again, sometime. Thanks!"
And off he went, into the darkness surrounding us, leaving me to ponder my soggy fries and basking in the glow of the dashboard, his thanks and a welcome truth:
Minivans = magic.