I love our family car. It was chosen over a few weeks of intensive research after the car we initially had meant the children could touch each other which led to punching, shouting and fighting and both Hubbie and I felt that to constantly turn around to try to sort them out was getting dangerous so we wanted a car to separate them all. Actually what we really wanted was one of those taxi glass screens that separate you from the driver or rather us from the children but manufacturers haven’t really thought this necessary but take it from Hubbie and I and all the parents we’ve asked -this would please parents more than the ability to go really fast around corners…
We settled on a Chrysler Voyager. Friends had the older shape and had bundled up to five children, ski gear, various computers, DS’s and toys and managed long haul trips to the continent and they also managed to come back smiling and still speaking to each other. There are full sized seats that take car seats with no trouble and, best of all, we could position the children in the car so that they never have to even look at each other. ‘Brilliant!!!’ is what I first said and ‘When can we trade our car in??’ was the second.
We’ve now had it 4 years and we’ll be keeping it until it’s time for the Chrysler to go to the ‘great scrapyard in the sky’ (as I have many of my old bangers) as I’m/we’re not a family that really wants to buy new cars every year as when you have a larger family practicality comes way more up the ladder of importance rather than colour and seat furnishings. There are dents all down the left hand side after living on a single track road for 2 1/2 years and having to pull over into the passing places and hedges with branches and trees sticking out of them. It looks like it’s lived a thousand years and, to be fair, in car terms it probably has. We call it ‘the bus’ as an affectionate term. We love it, even the kids do.
But the problem I have is keeping the darn thing clean. Not on the outside as living on the single track road taught me that to expect a car to stay clean on muddy roads after shoving it into hedges was so unrealistic that I pretty much soon gave up. The bus isn’t by any means a 4 x 4 -in fact it skids as soon as it sees a little bit of rain, I think there’s a little bit of Herbie the VW Beetle that oozed personality in the Disney films in that the bus really does seem to shudder and want to stay home when the weather’s bad. The boys don’t have 3 course meals in it yet it’s covered in food. The boot is always full of something so when I want to load it with shopping there’s no room and I have to fill the car arriving home with me saying rather loudly ‘MIND THE SHOPPING BOYS!!!’ as they enthusiastically get out using the sliding doors. Currently the boot is housing the skiing boots, some rugby kit that I know at the weekend we will find Hubbie running around shouting ‘Where’s the ski boots???? Where the heck is the rugby kit??? and I will just point to the allegedly ‘silver’ large family car on the driveway and suggest that he may find all in it…
We have full changes of clothes, discarded gloves, scarves and coats. There’s toys from the visit to Grandma’s at the weekend; magazines, pens and pencils (for puzzles and drawings) and even Hubbie’s skis laid diagonally across the back on the floor. In the front passenger foot well there’s de-icer, parts of my workbench in a plastic bag ready to be put in storage and, at the weekend Hubbie and I were talking about the fact we’d lost one of the steak knives during the move and he said ‘Oh didn’t I tell you? It’s down by the side of your chair..’ as if it were all perfectly normal to have a steak knife in the car.
There are other parents at school with the same car and I watch them purr in enviously as they park their clean car opening the sliding doors revealing a beautifully hovered carpet. I wouldn’t mind so much a beautifully hovered carpet but just to have a clean one that you can actually see would be lovely sometimes. The ‘look at me, don’t I have a clean car??’ parent collects their children and with the one click of the button on the key fob opens the boot to show off their cavernous boot that is rugby kit and ski boot free meaning their children can just put their book bags in the back and then calmly get in the car. My lot never get calmly into anything especially at the end of school as they see book bags as something that you really should bash your brother about the head with at least 4 times if given the opportunity. They stumble into the car falling over Daddy’s skis, dumping their brother bashing weapon (book bag) anywhere they can and then proceed to fight over who can get their seat belt on the fastest -my lot can be competitive over anything even the size of a bread roll I found out the other day. The door is clicked shut and I am safe waving and smiling at the mums and dads I know as I drive out of the car park.
I love our car and know it will be with us for many years to come long after the DVD players that fold into the roof have stopped working, long after the x-box cable -that will save our sanity as we pack up the kids and go skiing next year driving across the continent as we do- has been upgraded to the latest ‘new fangled thing’ so it no longer fits our very old car as funds dictate that it will be.
It does us well and we should love it more openly cleaning out the rubbish as we go through the years. Saying that though if you’re ever in a car park and need some bits of rugby kit, a pair of skiis and maybe a single steak knife then I would be definitely the one with the car that you need to go and visit. Also spare clothes and gloves we can hand out to the masses it seems. There is a slight light at the end of the tunnel though as we are expecting no 4 child very soon and we have both said it would be nice to bring them home in a clean car even if it is just for that day so we’re going to treat the car to a valet. Hmmmm, I wonder how long it will stay clean and tidy?