I’m a Big-White-Van Mom

Annie Muller // Tales From the Trenches


April 24  

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We sold our big-white-van today. That may sound like a small thing. You may be thinking, “This is not the way to hook the reader,” and you may be right. Selling an old car with almost two hundred thousand miles on it is not big news. We got lots of use out of it and it’s almost fifteen years old, but I am grieving. 

That giant white Ford Econoline represents a season of my life that is further behind me every day. To be fair, when we bought that van I did it kicking and screaming. It was not my dream car. I was still grieving the Honda Odyssey that I had given up two cars before this one. Many of those years I was resistant to the season, always struggling to be in the present moment, often imagining what life would be like when the children could all buckle themselves, when I wouldn’t have a purse full of Cheerios and Matchbox cars, when my days would be my own again, when my brain and body would be my own again. Perhaps it is indicative of the human condition, but now I have all of those things, and a part of me longs for those crazy, loud, exhausting days. To be fair, I don’t miss being exhausted and put-upon constantly; I don’t miss the constant discipline and the often draining minutia of the day, but I do miss the toddler laughs and the baby snuggles. I miss story time and kids who want to be tucked in, and mostly I miss needs that are easy to meet. The big-white-van also represents a certain simplicity, a time when the needs were obvious and constant and physical. Now, I find myself needing to just be still, be quiet and listen, and to intercede for my children as a way of addressing their needs. So many of their problems and burdens I cannot fix and I cannot carry. 

Every time I am tempted to revel in the past, the words of Ecclesiastes 3:1 come to my mind: “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” When we say “yes” to this wild vocation, we say “yes” to the rhythm of life, to giving and taking away, to life and to death. Sometimes it’s hard when the season is changing and you’re not ready yet. I feel this way every time the summer ends. I always want one more day with the easy schedule, watching my suntanned children play in the pool, but we can’t stop time. This year I will “let go” of another beautiful human put in my care and watch him go into the world as his own man. That never gets easier. However, if I let him, the Lord has much to say to my heart and soul about all of his plans and purposes for me and for all these people he gave me. Thank goodness he never leaves us or forsakes us. 

I may be driving a plain-old seven passenger van now, but in my heart, I will always be a big-white-van mom.

Proclaim the Genius & Share!
    • Thank you, Erin! It is always so joyous to know that something I’ve written speaks to another mom where she’s at. We need each other!

  • This is beautifully written. It perfectly describes how I felt some years ago when we traded in our old van for a scaled down version. I’m still no good at transitions.

  • Wow the timing of this!! We are pregnant with baby #6 and I just do not feel ready. And we are shopping for THE big van and have to get rid of my beloved minivan. This is a hard season of life for me, but I am trying my best to find joy and see the beauty in it too.

    • I totally understand that Patti! And like I said, I didn’t want to give up my automatic doors and smooth parking. The season you are in IS hard. Your instinct is perfect though, try to find the joy when you can. The paradox of life is that we often see the true sweetness of the season once it is behind us. You also have much to look forward to and it’s ok to think about that too. Blessings!

  • I am a big white van mom also. My first grandbaby is due on Monday and my youngest is four years old. I can totally relate. God is so good! Love this post!

    • Congratulations on the grandbaby! Grandchildren are SO magical–it’s everything people say it is and more. And your sweet 4-year-old will be the BEST aunt/uncle. The joy of my grandchildren is only rivaled by the love I see between them and my kids. Blessings!

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