My first car was a VW Beetle. It was bright orange and I called it “Sunny.”

I drove it for a couple of years, and I think my daddy held his breath every time I cranked up. After all, back then the engine was in the back. This made for great fun on the muddy roads at Lake Martin but was terribly dangerous in the event of a crash.

Daddy bought me an Oldsmobile Cutlass off the lot when I turned seventeen, and ‘Sunny” was retired to the truck shed. I was so happily distracted by the prettiness of a shiny new car that I didn’t really even notice when the car was sold.

A few years ago I caught a bug for a New Beetle (pun intended). My beloved went about the search for one. Being in the car repair business, it wasn’t long before he found one, bought it, fixed it up and had me scooting around town in a nice little yellow Volkswagen. I loved it. It suited me fine.

Then something extraordinary happened. We added five kids to our breakfast table. No amount of squeezing, pushing or inhaling could get everybody into a Beetle.

We are the circus, but there are laws that have to be obeyed.

There are only seatbelts for four in those little round cars, and I had to drop seven off at school each day. I had to face the facts. My Bug was history.

We bought a Suburban, possibly the polar opposite to the Beetle. It was massive but faithfully got everybody where they needed to go, which for a time included five schools twice a day.

Our family loved the “Burb” or “Sue,” as we’ve come to know her. There have been fights, naps, spitting fits, spankings (for the spitting), laughter, tears, lots of singing, lots of conversation and even movies, complete with Target popcorn, in the portable DVD player that did not come as standard equipment but was attached by a crafty mom with velcro and duct tape.

There is probably the faint image of tic-tac-toe scrawled into the backseat, along with somebody’s name (she still declares before God and the government that she didn’t do it. She was five – what can I say?)

The past seven years have gone by so fast. Boys got driver’s licenses and suddenly could not be seen with the tribe in the big old family vehicle; I couldn’t blame them really. I even got a smaller cuter Honda Pilot, and Daddy took on the Suburban. It is kind of like a truck, at least in theory.

Lately, I have been thinking about downsizing again. I only have the three girls to get to school. Three of them and one of me adds up to a number that makes me smile. The oldest will be learning to drive in only three years!

What a coincidence that the Beetle has four seatbelts.