Remember that game show “Let’s make a deal!” with the prizes behind the mystery doors? My minivan is fully equipped with two mystery doors. It didn’t come that way, the mystery doors are an upgrade feature my children have provided. You’re thinking you know where I’m going with this. You don’t. I’m not referring to your typical family minivan prizes like two inches of Cheerios, 5 matchbox cars,7 lego men, 12 straw wrappers, three half drunk juice boxes and 4 Dunkin cups. Nope, we take the mystery door to a whole new level.

For example, when my daughter was about two years old she became completely enthralled with the colored condoms in my bedside drawer. These are not condoms we invested in. However, my sister saw how we were doing with the first two children and apparently felt we should hold off on any further procreation. Hence, the care package of brightly colored prophylactics supplied by her college infirmary.

At first my daughter thought the condoms were candy. I cleared that up quick. Never, EVER, put those in your mouth! But she persevered in loving to sort them by color and line them up and hey, it bought me time to actually go to the bathroom without a child on my lap. PRICELESS!! But, when she started packing them into her little purses and carrying them on the go, I probably should have called game over. Instead, we roll up for a mommy and me play-date with new friends, I swing open the minivan door and… there lie about two dozen condoms all over the floor. I was forced to explain the versatility and entertainment value of a condom. Patent pending and negotiations underway on a deal with Toys R Us.

Another time I had a full load of kids in the van… and allegedly a couple in the trunk area when I hear, “Um, there’s a tooth back here.” We had a puppy at the time so I laughed and said, “Dog tooth?” To which my son’s friend responded, “No, I’m pretty sure it’s a human tooth.” As I tried to remember if any of my kids had even lost a tooth recently I heard a voice quietly dead pan, “If you guys are serial killers, just tell me now.”

Just this week I rolled up to the elementary school and as the kids climbed in, put down my window to have this conversation:

Me: “How’s my favorite first grade teacher?”

Mr. B: “Very – “

And here is where my son interrupts…

My boy: “Mr. B, do you like pickles?”

Mr. B: “Yes… why?”

My boy as he holds out a jar of pickles he has found behind the mystery door: “You want a pickle?”

Which was much less embarrassing than back  in Massachusetts one Monday morning at school drop off… when a stray Corona rolled out of the minivan along with my kids. Note to self: use a car with a trunk or a truck for recycling runs…

Maybe this is why yesterday my subconscious brought me to hop in the minivan parked two vehicles over from mine and attempt to start the car as I thought, “we don’t have leather interior.” Or maybe that happened for the same reason that I’ve been filling the washing machine with clothes, putting in the detergent, shutting the door and walking away without turning it on. Maybe it’s all related. All I know for sure is these ARE my monkeys, and this IS my circus. And frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Except maybe cleaner and with leather interior.