I’m not sure anyone ever enters parenthood champing at the bit to own a minivan.

It’s one of those milestones that you accept with resignation more than anything else. Let’s face it: it signifies a marked decline in the sexiness of one’s life.

All that aside, we were incredibly lucky to be given a hand-me-down minivan when we discovered that we were expecting twins. It was a solid workhorse that, despite the abuse that our family of five threw its way, kept plugging on.

Seven years later, we are finally having to retire the old van. As it often goes, there’s just too much work that needs doing — maintenance that would cost more than the value of the van itself.

So in honor of its years of trusty service, I’m sharing a poem from my book that I wrote in its praise. Here’s to the unsexy, crumb-riddled gifts in our lives!

Ode To Our Minivan

We are driving you
into the ground,
and you keep taking it,
or us, really, along with our
travel mugs, orphaned socks
and cracker crumbs.

Behind your back, I admit,
we dream of our next vehicle:
privacy glass, better gas mileage,
maybe even a sunroof—
but what I wouldn’t give
just for power windows!

Your decline is clearest
when I ease you out of
snug parking spaces or
struggle to merge with cars
flying by on the

tight turns reduce you
to confused stuttering,
while a trip on the Interstate
makes you cough and lurch,
eager to please but
slow to accelerate.

You are not without your
subtle forms of protest:
one day, you up and decided
not to make cold air, except
on HIGH (and if the stars
are aligned).

So now we drive with the windows
down, the humid air in our ears,
and above us your waving flag
of loose ceiling fabric,
faithfully billowing
and flapping.

© Sarah Dunning Park, 2012. All rights reserved. Used with permission.