Raising a large family has it's challenges.
One of them is finding the right transport.
When I first started out having children, I always envisioned I would have lots of kids.
I went over things in my mind, planned for the future and tried to be prepared for things to come.
I have been blessed that I have been able to have a large family but I never imagined, pictured or planned what sort of car I would drive.
We started out with a Station wagon, moved up to a Tarago and have finally settled on a Commuter bus. At first I felt a little teary about this option.
It is not the nicest looking car, it has a larger turning circle and I just can't get into some shopping centre's because the roof is so high. I am happy to say that I can fit into the drive through at the local McDonald's though, to get everyone a 50c cone when we need one!
I remember when I first got the bus and I was feeling a little self conscious, and maybe just a little bit embarrassed, about driving it that I had a wonderful experience.
I looked in my rear view mirror to see how the kids were coping with this change of cars we had made and I was surprised to see that they were loving it! They had their window's open, hair blowing every where and pure delight was on their faces because they had room, they had space, they were sitting up high and it was almost like riding a ride at the showgrounds.
I have found 'the bus' great for our family. We can fit bikes in, lots of shopping in, camping stuff in, beach stuff in and anything we need for fun adventures.
One of the funny things about me driving this bus is the reaction from others.
When I pull up somewhere, lets say at a playground where lots of other kids are playing. It is as if the whole playground goes silent...it stops...parents included, to see what sort of tragedy is about to happen.
This is when I start to smile to myself...
The sliding door opens, normally loudly...and all my kids start to tumble out.
I see the other kids on the playground looking scared and I know they are thinking...'it's a gang of kids coming to get us'. Now my kids are not perfect but they are kind!
Then I see parents counting my kids and it is so fun to see them start to shake their head, like I have committed some crime bringing all these children into the world, and then their mouths drop when they get to the end. Yep! there really is seven!
Then when all the kids are out of the bus. It is my turn.
This is the funniest part.
When I get out of the bus and make my way around to the other side of the car, to normally close the sliding door because the last person out has of course forgotten to close it, people stare at me. It is like they are in shock!
After they have stared for a while they then look me up and down, I mean, totally look me up and down. Especially women!
They start forming a judgement in their mind and begin to wonder about this spectacle and they always seem to look at my butt. I get so tempted to give them a big flash of my butt just so they can have a closer look - with clothes on of course!
They love to see if I am overweight (which of course I am in my own small way) and it is as if they are saying to themselves...no way are all those kids hers, she doesn't look like a woman who should have 7 kids.
So off I go to play with my kids and after spending a little time at the playground, I sit and wait.
Why? because I know that these other mother's there can't stand it, they have to know.
Sure enough I will either see a mother asking one of my kids or have one of them come over to me to ask: 'Are those really all your kids?"
'Yes, they are." I always reply
and then comes the next statement.
"No, you don't look like you have seven kids."
My next question to them is: 'What is someone with seven kids supposed to look like?"
Now I understand that people are just fascinated, in shock and intrigued with the fact that I have seven kids. I have days where I am in shock about it too! I am happy to answer questions and tell them that yes, I did plan to have all these children (all except the twins, we did not expect to have twins) and yes we do have a television!
I know I am not alone in having a large family, there are so many combined large families today and there are plenty of other women who desire to have lots of kids too. Most comments from people are kind and on the days I get unkind comments I try not to let it get to me.
I am used to driving my bus now, I love it, and I am used to talking to people about our family.
For now though it really has come down to me asking myself when I go out...
....does my butt look big with this bus?