Those holiday car commercials with the big red ribbons adorning minivans and SUVs tug at my heart.
Most of my friends have cars like this too, and I have to admit that I'm jealous.
In my 2000 Honda CRV, the clock and radio stopped working years ago, and the back window doesn't latch shut anymore.
My husband and I bought this 13-year-old car well before having kids. In fact, we bought it with our dogs in mind.
Now I wish I could trade the fold-down space for a third row of seats.
My car's lack of seating capacity becomes an issue whenever I carpool other kids.
When I took a friend of mine to our sons' baseball camp, I had to move my daughter's five-point harness seat to the middle and put the boys on each side of her in their booster seats.
It was a tight fit, which made it tough for the kids to get in and out easily. It worked fine for the week, but I kept thinking about how a bigger car would make things so much easier.
During spring break last year, the car rental agency kindly gave us an upgrade to a GMC Acadia. Somehow they must have known I was secretly wishing for a vehicle like this one.
It had leather seats for seven, a sunroof, a rearview camera and a DVD player. The size of this car was heavenly. We had plenty of space for luggage, groceries, the stroller and extra people.
Of course, my kids were completely mesmerized because they could watch a movie in the car. In my car, all we have for entertainment is conversation and a large supply of books.
On long road trips, they definitely get bored after a while, so I know a DVD player would be a nice thing to have.
The truth is that I would love a new SUV, but since my car was paid off long ago, we realize what a car payment would do to our budget.
Though a newer, larger vehicle would make it easier to carpool and give us more space for kids and dogs, we've decided we have lots of other things that we need to spend money on. I'm going to drive my car until something major breaks and it's no longer cost effective to repair it.
For the time being, I have to accept my car for what it is. It may be older and lacking of modern conveniences, but it holds an intangible value the other moms in the car line at school can't see.
Someday when I have a larger, newer car, I know there will be battles over what DVD my kids want to watch, and then I'll remember how my kids used to read books and talk to each other in the car.
Danielle Hauser is a married mother of two who lives in the Westchase area.