Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Reality...Never In A Million Years

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.


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...

buying a twelve passenger van

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.

twelve passenger van

There was no turning back at that point.

Now we can fit our family and lots of friends too. :-)

a family vehicle

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!

a family van

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? :-)

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  1. Another plus (which I'm sure you've already thought of) is that all those extra seats will make all kinds of carpooling arrangements with other families easier.

  2. "Is there anything that you said that you never would do as a kid that you're doing now later in life? :-)"

    My answer to that question: Changing diapers! When I was little I went to a babysitter during the day and I HATED when she changed diapers. I won't go into details but lets just say I had a VERY sensitive nose. It got to the point that she had to warn me when she was going to change a diaper so I could go far far away! One day I remember her asking me what I was going to do when I grew up and had a baby. "I'll hire a babysitter, but her only job will be to change diapers and potty train! I'll do the rest!"

    Now I have zero problems changing my son's diaper. I can't say that about changing other kids diapers...

    Anyways...thanks for sharing! The funny thing is, I was just thinking about big families the other night. I was wondering what you would do for a vehicle if you had a large family. My mom came from a family of 8 that's 10 people! And I know they never had a minivan so I wondered how they ever all fit. Of course that was a LONG time ago and they probably just crammed them all in. They didn't have regulations like today. But I'm glad to hear that you found an option that works for you and your family. Now if I ever have a BIG FAMILY I'll know what to do!

    1. Amelia,

      It is so funny what we say we will never do! :-)


  3. I LOVE your new van. We've maxed out our minivan. We've definitely wanting a 12 passenger once our van needs replacing. It's a 2006 so hopefully we'll get a few more years out of it :)

    1. Allyson,

      Let me know when you join the club! :-)


  4. i vowed never ever even if my life depended on it to work at mcds

    1. Chantal,

      My kids would say that you have the best job in the whole ENTIRE world! ;-)


  5. I do things every day that I SWORE I would NEVER do, like lose my temper and punish all the fighting children at once without getting to the bottom of the situation. Sigh.

    My teen-hood van beats yours though, mine was a 15-passenger extended van - practically a bus. I didn't mind it though, because I ended up being asked to every event so that I could bring everyone else with me. AND, I didn't get asked to parallel park on my driving test. Now that I have four kids, I'm trying to talk my husband into a van for us. Your story might help in my convincing. =)

    1. Dana,

      What fun...I don't think I had to parallel park on my test either. :-) I hope our story helps convince your many helpful possibilities!


  6. We have five kids as well, and we are hoping for more, and we just bought a 12 passenger van 3 weeks ago!

    1. Sarah,

      That is awesome, congrats! We should start a club. :-)


  7. Sarah, let me tell you...when I was little, we had TWO 15-passenger-size vans. One was emptied of all back seats and used as my Dad's work van (he hauled all his maintenance supplies and ladders in it) and one for the family. They were both hideous. We used to call ours the "hot rod" just so we would feel better about riding in it. They were so massive-looking to us small kids. And yet..when I think about someday driving one with my own crew in the back seats, I feel a little excited. I can understand what you said about coming full circle. A big van is actually quite endearing when it's one you picked out by yourself and it meets all your needs. You are awesome!

    1. Noele,

      What a fun story! I loved hearing this about your family. I guess it makes our memories sweeter in the joy that we receive when we truly come "full circle." Your turn next! :-)



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