Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Change News
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory

Bookmark and Share

Sports Car Mama

by Malerie Yolen-Cohen

In my neck of the woods, a positive pregnancy test demands a visit to the nearest minivan dealer.  Young families salivate over the newest colors, accessories and yes, the most space one can accommodate in a vehicle without requiring a bus driver’s license.  

Never mind that purchasing an eight-seater for a family of three is like moving into a mansion when a 4-bedroom split ranch will do. With car seats, cup holders and televisions included, most new parents find these new vehicles difficult to resist.  I, however, am not one of them.  If an auto doesn’t come with five on the floor, I don’t want it.

When Ben was born ten years ago, I longed for a Miata.  Its tiny oval shape conjured images of George Jetson - like take-offs and landings. A year and a half later, when Jacob joined our merry band of travelers, my appetite for speed increased and a deep purple Porsche would appear regularly in my dreams. 

I, sigh, had to settle for a car that would accommodate two car seats and withstand toppled juice boxes and pulverized Cheetos. 

The search was tougher than I thought. 

Hauling my boys through showroom after showroom, minivan brochures would rain on me as surely as if I had a sign on my head: “New Parent – sell me the largest vehicle you can!” 

As fate would have it, I parked behind a woman with two little tots at the Infiniti dealership.  Peeking into the backseat of her new G20, I spied car seats snuggled close together. 

 “How do you like the car?” I asked. 

 “It’s great,” said the stranger.  That was the only endorsement I needed to make the purchase. 

My sister in law critically assessed the situation.  “Most people buy larger cars when they have kids.  Why did you go smaller?  And couldn’t you get an automatic?”  

I couldn’t seem to make her see that I could not foresee lugging a soccer team and its accoutrements around – ever.  And it was even more difficult to explain that obtaining a stick shift these days is like moving a small Japanese mountain.  I actually had to order it special.  For those women who define “performance” as something you do on a stage - or in bed - having this conversation was like talking to, well, a minivan owner. 

Years have passed and I still don’t own that purple Porsche.  We do have a purplish-blue SUV that, thankfully, gives my husband that King of the Road feeling one gets sitting seven feet above the highway.  We switch every now and then, and even though an occasional dose of this yuppie car marketed as some kind of “sporting vehicle” gives me a sense of conformity, I still can’t wait to get my twice built stick-shift back in hand. 

I guess I was never meant to go along with the crowd.  I’d rather see them waving in my dust.

Jeff still attempts to sway me to the minivan side of the street.  We have since taken on a soccer team and do have to haul goals and balls and the occasional child around.  I stand my ground.   We Americans do have this thing about big open spaces.  But I prefer them outside.

I close my eyes and see myself cradled in a small space-like capsule zipping around the country.   At least my kids understand.

 “Hey, Mom, there goes your car,” they say as a Porsche zooms by. 

 “Where would you sit?”  I ask them. 

 “Don’t worry.  We’d squish in the back!” 

---  Malerie Yolen-Cohen is a freelance writer based in Stamford, Conn.