We took a little Craigslist inspired roadtrip yesterday. We had two things on our agenda: a unicycle and a brown bus. The unicycle, because Keats became obsessed after trying one at a friend’s house, and has been driving us nuts for one ever since. The brown bus because Jonny has this big crazy plan to turn a bus into an RV this summer, maybe not so coincidentally inspired by the same friends with the unicycle.
The bus turned out to be not quite right for us, which was mildly disappointing for Jonny because he has had a brown bus obsession ever since first spying this one on Craigslist over a month ago. In fact, he used the photo from the listing as his screensaver for awhile. This bus project will be quite an adventure, and I guess the process of finding the right one is going to be part of that.
The unicycle, on the other hand, is perfect. Keats is still obsessed, but at least he can now work towards realizing this new dream of being able to ride his unicycle everywhere with perfect skill.
Nearing the end of this day we stopped at a rest area for our dozenth potty break, and another round of cooler food. The hillside between the rest area and the highway was covered in Japanese flowering cherries (Prunus ‘Kanzan’ I think) in full bloom. The wind was sweeping through, causing petals to fall like snow, thrilling my kids.
Our little ones were dirty, and some were yogurt covered. Job at some point got a diaper change and his onesie never managed to get snapped up again. We were all a little disheveled.
I was taking photographs when I noticed an elderly man watching me. I could see him considering approaching me, maybe a bit hesitant, and I was admittedly a little nervous at the prospect. I guess it was his hesitance that worried me. Was he thinking about chastising me? Did he disapprove of our family for some reason, for our children racing around the hillside?
I tried to appear open and friendly, because truly I am. I am not typically wary of strangers. The first thing he asked was if he was counting correctly. He said, “6.” I said actually “7.”
He said that it must be hard today to raise a large family these days, that it must be expensive. I noted that we don’t buy much in the way of electronics. We don’t drive new cars. We buy lots of used clothing. I added that we lived on some acreage, spending a lot of time outdoors.
He spoke of a friend who was one of 17, how they never vacationed. I told him of our plan to start traveling in a renovated school bus, the reason for our trip that day.
I could tell that he was weighing my words carefully, and then he noted that our kids looked really happy. He must have noticed that Jonny and I are too.
As we parted he said to me, “Enjoy your special life. You’re very lucky.”
His words spun around my head throughout the rest of our drive. They made me feel warm, and happy, thankful, and satisfied. Oftentimes people don’t view a family full of children as a good thing. But he clearly saw that for us, it is. Easy? No. But, good? Yes.
Enjoy your special life.
I think I will always carry his words with me, a reminder that my life is truly very special.