Since last week, I have filled out 20 different forms with the exact same information 20 different times. I have bought hand sanitizer, Kleenex, and colored pencils in bulk. New shorts and shoes and backpacks, paper and pencils and erasers; all are piled up on my dining room table.

School is officially back in session.

I also bought ice cream and wine.

I’m ready this year though. Unfortunately, my car was not ready. The engine went out and we had to get another vehicle. I finally got a minivan.

The ultimate mom-mobile, the minivan is as much full of comfort as it is empty of style. We have four leather captain chairs, a bench seat in the back, and we have a television in the ceiling. The kids like that no one has to actually sit next to each other. Plus, we can haul all the friends around. Taylor even has a baby doll with its own car seat buckled in.

The kids love riding to and from school in the van. They practically leap in and out of it. They argue about who gets to push the button to open and shut the door. I guess a van means something different to kids than it does to adults.

Adults see another adult driving a minivan and they think, “That poor lady. She has totally given up her life as a former HC (hot chick) and become a complete HW (high waister – referring to the high-waisted jeans most moms wear.) And the worst part is, she still thinks she’s cool! Ha! Ha!”

Meanwhile HW is sitting in her van at the red light, listening to Praise radio at full volume and thinking how awesome she is. “I am still amazing, even in a van! Look at those kids looking over here. I’m playing TobyMac, guys!” She waves.

OK. It was me. I waved.

So here I am, mid-life, not buying a sports car or getting a newer model husband; no, I’m driving a minivan and listening to TobyMac. (If you haven’t heard of him, Google it. He’s actually very good and, I think, young and hip. Also please note I said ‘Google it,’ which is a young and hip thing to say, I think.)

When I’m not driving in my van, I’m in the Dollar Tree buying stickers and scented Chapstick to use in my preschool class this year as good behavior incentives. I also found some giant red tweezers and huge magnifying glasses to use during science experiments. The back of my van is full of bags of name tags and sensory bottles. There are bags of rice and sand and stuffed animals and books. And, my personal favorite, I have a paper bag full of groceries, well empty groceries, so the kids in my class have real things to play with. I also have a life-size poster of the giant Goliath, of the David and Goliath Bible story.

Yeah, I heard it in that last paragraph. I guess I really am HW mom now. But that’s OK. I like my van. It holds a lot of stuff. Also, it is time for all of us to go back to school and a van is kind of like a bus but it’s definitely cooler than a bus, right?

Melissa Kinton is a stay-at-home mom. She is currently rearing one son, one daughter, one cat, one rabbit, one guinea pig, one hamster, seven chickens, two dogs, two goats, two horses, various fish, and one husband. She may be reached at melissagkinton@gmail.com.

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