I drive a 2000 Ford E350 super duty 12 passenger van, in her former life she was a transport vehicle for the state of Arizona prison system taking prisoners to court, so its kind of natural that she lives with us now.
This is the only vehicle, well the only running vehicle, for our family of 11 so she is a hard worker. A typical week will see trips back and forth to work for Hot Mama, To school and back at 5 different schools, to the doctor, to the grocery store, therapy - that would be speech, physical, OT and emotional, dance lessons, team practice for 4 different teams, parent visits, back to Hot Mama's work with her other black sock (really does happen enough to include here), to the gas station, to friends houses, to Church, back to Hot Mama's work with her phone and computer..... on and on and on. People say the heart of the home is the kitchen, ours might be the van.
As practicing Mormons our church leadership advises us to keep a years worth of supplies and food on hand... there was a time that we did this, but we have long since consumed that. The only years supply of anything we have now is the years worth of old french fries available on the floor of the van. The contents will regularly also include several loads of laundry - the girls change in the van on the way to practice, lots of daddy pop cups, lost homework, toys, unbelievable amounts of paper, and the occasional lost dirty diaper that cant be found! Then there is the constant odor of feet from the 8 pairs of ballroom shoes.....ugh.
We are the van you see with the 4 car seats and face prints all over the inside of the windows, we have adapted well though. The kids can now exit the van at friends homes and in front of the school without spilling much. Actually it is nice to see how they cooperate to make sure that someone shoves the pile while someone else leaves, knowing that the favor will be returned later. We have even found ourselves supporting others, when the kids see another giant van with too many car seats and a general unkept aura we all yell "foster power" out the windows. It's an exclusive club.
In the midst of this chaos important moments happen in this van, picking up new members of the family, soothing the tears when we leave a visit with a biological parent. The fun of a date with Hot Mama, discussions about the trials of growing up and being a teenager. The rage of a boy who can't return to his dad. Laughter so hard you become a hazard to pedestrians. Just last week we kept driving around the block for an hour when Olivia asked, "we are supposed to be able to forgive to go to heaven, what if I can't forgive Jack's dad for not being able to take care of him."
Everyone growing, everyday, it all happens in that van. Some imagine their dream car, that car that will tell the world they have made it, they are a success, I get in my older, messier, 12 passenger former penitentiary vehicle and think for me this is my dream vehicle, this van says I have made it. I love what it tells the world about me. I wouldn't drive anything else.
I would like to catch the one who keeps wiping boogers on the windows though.
Ahhh, I love you!