Our son and his wife just bought their first FUV. No, that’s not a typo. According to our son, an FUV is a Family Utility Vehicle. It looks like a mini-van, drives like a mini-van and parks like a mini-van. It even says Toyota Sienna on the back—but he’s calling it an FUV.
Clearly, he is in denial. He is experiencing the first step of the four steps of grief.
Many young men today consider driving a mini-van to be an assault on their masculinity. Sure, a lot of them are particular about the scent of their deodorant and aftershave and may own as many hair products as their mothers, but owning a mini-van is an assault on their masculinity.
When we ask to take a picture of our son in front of the FUV, he exhibits signs of the second step of grief, depression. He slouches, hangs his head, looks up with a sad puppy face and says, “Go ahead and take a picture. This is me being happy.”
Our son and his wife bought an FUV because they are expecting their fourth child. Until recently, they managed by cramming three car seats in the backseat of a Toyota Camry, a remarkable feat in itself. But now they will need room for four car seats. Today, children are legally required to remain in car seats until they reach the age of 21 or 210 pounds, whichever comes first.
We help our son advance to the third stage of grief— anger—by saying, “Hey, buddy, remember when you had a Ford F150 pickup? Remember that rickety stick shift and loud muffler?” And then we have a good laugh. Hey, what are parents for?
Still, we should probably keep that idea about getting them little stick figure family decals for the back window to ourselves. Ditto for the Baby on Board sign.
Parenthood is a continual series of adjustments. You find yourself doing all kinds of things you never dreamed you’d do before you had kids—wiping snot with your bare hands, sniffing diapers, letting someone gum the side of your face and calling it a kiss, catching vomit, fishing toys out of the toilet and scooping doo-doo out of the tub. And maybe, one day, even driving a mini-van. Oh, the things you do for love.
They stopped at a farm sale on the way to her parents and scored a huge tractor tire that the kids can use as a sandbox . They hauled it on their roof rack.
The fourth stage – acceptance.