The Reality... is a series of posts that give expression to what life is like
going from being a family of four with two small children,
to instantly becoming a family of seven
when we adopted our three oldest children.
I have to begin this special post with a story. You see once I was 17 and needed a vehicle to drive to school so that I could stay afterwards for volleyball practice. My parents graciously gave me a vehicle to use.
It was a twelve passenger van.
A TWELVE PASSENGER VAN!
I was mortified ya'll. It shouldn't feel like a big deal but it was. It was a big deal because it was a BIG van. It was so special that I was given my very own designated corner spot in the senior parking lot so that I could park that thing. I stood out like a sore thumb...something that I was trying to avoid in high school.
I would have loved to just blend in.
I remember very clearly the year that my parents got that van. I was in the fourth grade. We had a picture of my sister, two brothers and I all with winter coats on hanging out of the van doors celebrating our new ride.
We could literally almost all have our very own bench!
We were ecstatic.
The picture looked almost exactly like this...
Wait, that is five kids...those are MY kids! How did this happen?!? When did I become an adult?!? How in the world did we ever decide to purchase a TWELVE PASSENGER VAN?
What is going on here?!?
We knew that we would be "upgrading" vehicles someday. Someday being a few years down the road once all of the kids were in school. We currently drive our kids to school and eventually Sam and I would both need a vehicle that could fit all five kids since we take turns picking them up based on who is where and when in the city.
Up until that point we would continue to drive our mini-van (that fits all seven of us) and my trusty, old faithful "first (new to me) but used car that I bought out of college, 1997 Honda Civic" that currently had 220,000 miles on it (and going strong!)
Then about a month ago Sam was on his way to work and a 16 year old girl went through a stop sign and pulled out in front of him. To Sam, the reality of what could have happened to that precious girl if the cars had hit just a few inches differently was overwhelming. Thankfully the girl was ok and after Sam's scrapes and bruises healed, so was he.
That left us with needing to purchase a new vehicle sooner than we thought. Old faithful was now totaled. And by totaled I mean that her insurance company gave us what it cost to fix a bumper and the hood 6 years ago...anyway.
We could have gone with another mini-van but as the kids got bigger even that was going to be tight. For over a year now we have been saying so many times to other family members and friends..."sorry, you can't ride with us, our vehicle is maxed out." So we decided that we wanted something that could seat more than seven people.
We scoured Craigslist looking for an SUV or a Suburban. That possibility would give us a few extra seats, but then we got to thinking that for similar gas mileage we could also get a twelve passenger van and have five extra seats.
We do after all want our kids to have friends.
There was no turning back at that point.
Now we can fit our family and lots of friends too. :-)
I still think Sam and I are pinching ourselves asking when and how this happened. When did we become the adults that actually wanted a twelve passenger van?
I'll tell you one thing. There are some GREAT advantages to having one of these.
We can fit our very own garbage can!
And you should see the compartments on this thing. They are an organizing girl's dream! :-)
I think this is what you call...coming full circle.
Full circle from being the girl that felt "scarred" from her high school parking lot experience (thinking that her parents were crazy) and vowing never, NEVER to drive a twelve passenger van again. To a mom that decided that a vehicle that met the needs of her family was more important than any sense of being "cool" with a different type of vehicle.
The accident and buying this van was a reminder to both Sam and I that it's NOT about any of these material things; you have them one moment and then they're gone (or they rust away too), but life is about more important things.
Things that really do last forever.
This is also the part where I'm going to wrap up this story and go give my parents a BIG hug for loving my siblings and I enough to enable us to bring friends wherever we went. And for teaching me responsibility by making me pay for gas. (Ya hear that kids? Start saving your pennies now...gas isn't going to be any cheaper when you inherit this thing!) ;-)
Is there anything that you said that you never would do as a kid that you're doing now later in life? :-)