Ode to the Odyssey:
15 years ago we took the plunge. We became a minivan family.
It was the natural progression as a parent. Casey was two years old and Peyton was about to be born. Look it up. Chapter 3 of the Parent's Handbook: Multiple kids = Minivan.
We bought a brand new Honda Odyssey online, sight unseen. We had to preorder it and wait a couple of months.
I say 'we', but in reality, that was Kelly's baby.
I do remember the sense of crossing over. I was transitioning from cruising around with the stereo blaring to cautiously transporting valuable cargo. For the record, we did resist the cliched 'Baby On Board' suction cupped sign on the back window.
But today, with a sense of sadness, I report we are a minivan-less family.
With Casey 17 and driving his own car and Peyton 15 and on the verge of driving, our 2002 Honda Odyssey was officially phased out this week.
We donated the minivan to Wheels for Wishes, benefitting Make-A-Wish. (The process was simple. I'd highly recommend it)
Man, the hours spent, trips made and errands run in that minivan. Total miles: 133,546.
Miles racked included trips to baseball practice, games and tournaments.
Trips to soccer practice, games and tournaments.
I can't forget packing it up with kids for an afternoon at the swimming pool or a night at the movies.
Vacations and trips to grandma and grandpa were always an adventure in that minivan: The Odyssey visited locations from South Haven, Michigan to Hilton Head. Toss in Myrtle Beach, Carmel, Indiana, Marietta, GA, Southport, North Carolina and Geneva, Illinois.
Vacations meant portable DVD players, one for Casey, one for Peyton, were a must have. Those straps around the back of the driver and passenger head rests were always a challenge. Most played movies: Incredibles, Spiderman and Bolt.
The minivan executed countless car pool trips to Kings Island over they years.
And it provided a Homecoming Dance ride for eight teenage girls.
The story of our minivan can't be told without an appreciation for food crumbled, drinks spilled and carpet stained over 15 years. If you dig down far enough between the seats you will likely find leftover fruit snacks and gold fish snack crackers, each with a story to tell. Also count on finding a sippy cup or two filled with juicy juice. You are bound to find a stray flash card somewhere in the back seat.
Odds are if you punched the CD player eject button Kidz Bop would pop out.
I'll always remember the sounds of our minivan. Those include the rolling sound of the side doors sliding open or the annoying beeping sound when you tugged on the door handle before realizing the minivan was locked.
The Odyssey hung in there over 15 years, surviving snow storms and slick roads, rambunctious kids and then teenagers. Sure, there was a ding and a dent and a scratch, or two. I'll take credit for the first incident on record. While lost on a rural road in Coloma, Michigan searching for DiMaggio's Pizza & Burgers, I might have backed into a farmer's mailbox. It might have been a hit and run, after a quick assessment of no damage....to the mailbox.
But Kelly scrapped the side of our garage door while backing out one day. She was also the occasional victim of the shopping cart ding in the grocery story parking lot.
The fate of the Odyssey was sealed last month by a deer rushing from the side of the road. It clipped the left front bumper. Poor deer.
I already miss that minivan.
It use to be that when I saw it rolling through the neighborhood and pulling into the driveway I knew my family was home. These days I need a group text to locate all of us.
But life goes on.
Long live the minivan.