Seats to Spare.

Once we got six kids permanently, transportation became a problem. We had a little mini-van which held the kids and me but not Nigel. So, since we like him a little we had to find something to carry all of us.

We had an Excursion for a bit. I am not sure I can really classify that tank as an automobile. It was HUGE. And to make it less conspicuous it had giant truck-rally-worthy tires and a lift. To me, the lift just meant it was two feet higher than a normal Excursion…which meant if you were shorter than average you needed to get a running jump or some kind of step stool. 
It also had windshield wipers that periodically turned on for no reason. And when it rained it would try and crank (with no one in it!)…some kind of electrical short or something…no one was able to figure it out. So when it rained, I would drive to my destination and unhook the battery.
Anyway, the bigger boys started growing out of the seats in the back and I couldn’t drive around with a self-cranking Excursion…it had to go.

So, we went on the hunt for another vehicle that held all of us, didn’t crank all alone when it rained and had wipers that came on only when I wanted them to. I really wasn’t feeling too picky about the search, I did want decent gas mileage. And for my vanity, something not too ugly.

Then I saw it.
The most beautiful white hunk of metal on wheels.
It is technically a van, but we affectionately call it The BUS.

0 to 60 in just under five minutes. Be jealous.

It has a super sexy RV-type air conditioner on the top that makes us too tall for most parking garages. I know this because I felt like we should fit, so I gave it a whirl. It wasn’t pretty.

Sometimes I make right turns too sharply and scrape stop signs down the passenger side windows. The kids really like that.
Sometimes I roll down the windows and play the music at inappropriate volumes for a 33 year-old. It is to remind the kids that I used to be cool. They really like that, too.
I admit I have a bizarre attraction to this used-to-be church bus. 

I love it because it is reliable, has air bags and a rubber floor that can be swept and mopped. (best idea EVER) I love it even more because when I haven’t showered for three days, have tornado-hair, and wear 10-year-old exercise pants…I can still count on a honk and an excited wave from a FedEx man. So what if he is mistaking me for a fellow FedEx driver.

I love it because it holds all of us.
I love it because it holds 12 and we are only 8.
I love it because every time I glance in my rear-view mirror I see six filled seats…
and 4 empty ones.

4 spare seats mean...
Sarah and her 3 boys can ride with me anywhere.
TC can take his wild teenage friends with us to the movies.
Celee and Mia can bring their twittering girls to go shopping.
Judsen and Joe can bring their camo-clad dudes to go hunting for wabbits.
Cole, Brayden and Madison can all ride with my kids and their Mom can visit with me…
It is lots of fun.

But when all the visitors have exited the bus for the day, the FedEx men have given me my much needed self-esteem boost, the music has been turned down after I have proven my coolness once again…I look in the mirror at my wonderfully permanent children riding in the back
and I see those 4 seats are once again empty.

Those spare seats make me wonder what sad, happy, screaming, laughing, or furious child will move into our home next and fill it.
It makes me wonder if I will look ridiculous with somewhere between 7 and 10 kids piling out of a great white bus.
It makes me wonder about life and why sometimes brutality collides so painfully with such precious innocence.
It makes me question if my heart can survive another child coming and going…
It makes me wonder desperately if I can find anything bigger.

It makes me wonder what other people do with their spare seats.


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