We used to have a big car–a Honda Pilot–when we had only two children. Now that we have three, though, we have a Honda Accord–a much smaller car. Fewer children, bigger vehicle; more children, smaller vehicle. I know–it doesn’t make much sense. But before you shake your head and say, “Poor befuddled math-impaired English teacher with little to no sense of spatial relations,” don’t worry. It really was all about the gas. Filling up the Pilot always left me somewhat angst-ridden–if not financially depleted. So, when it was time to get a new vehicle, I opted for fuel-efficiency–and more money in my bank account (or for Stop & Shop–take your pick).
I knew, though, that squeezing three boys in the back seat of a small car would be interesting–that they’d be tight and VERY close together with nothing but each other to entertain them: no DVD player, no aisle between them.
So, what is life REALLY like in our car? Oh, it’s interesting. Some of the boys’ most profound disagreements have been in that car. So have some of their most profound wounds. Scratches, pinches, hair-pulling–you name it.
But for all the squabbles and altercations, there have also been some of the best all-out belly laughs, snuggles, and imaginative play I have ever seen. They have gotten to know each other, talked to each other, paid attention to each other. They’ve looked out the windows and found familiar shapes in the clouds. They’ve played games that involved geography and science. They have watched the weather. They have watched each other.
So even though they’re packed in there like sardines, I’m hoping that the net result will be something they could never achieve if they were all three feet apart or in separate rows or riveted by a movie in a descending DVD player–conflict resolution to be sure, but also friendship and togetherness–and, of course, the memory of their ever-patient mother in the front seat who was always willing to sacrifice a little quiet for the good of this cause.