If I were a hobo...
Children are not allowed in the front seat like they were when I was little. Because a short stature slips out of the seat belt and because of too many deaths by air bag, children these days wait 'til they're heavier and longer. I wasn't certain that this was recommended or compulsory by the state. And there's a noticeable lack of information on the internet.
Savannah's been begging to get up front. I'd heard of an 80 lb. minimum, and she's still 78. I do want to keep her safe. But since I knew the chances of her getting hurt up front were really slim, I was actually insisting she wait because I didn't want her invading my space. Georgia-land is another universe where all my moods can roller coaster without anyone else's getting in the way. The music and the cup-holders are mine. But mostly I didn't want her to catch me talking to myself.
Then our neighbor said the minimum is 60 lbs; since I don't have a huge resolve on non-moral issues, I said ok. Y'all can imagine how stoked she is to sit up front. She drops these hints into her psyche about college life, her dream home, and marriage. Her toothbrush keeps appearing with mine and Brad's in our faux-vintage toothbrush holder, etc... She wants to be an adult. When she doesn't have a girlfriend with her at group gatherings, she shadows me, waiting for me to slip and say something I'd only say to other grown women.
She sat up front on a 3 hour trip to our friends in Santa Margarita. She made me nervous for the first hour. Asking me quesitons, I'd suddenly realize that I hadn't been focused on the road. If I'd tail-gated anyone, and they'd stopped short, it could've been bad. That was about 2 weeks ago.
Not only have I gotten more used to it, but I've realized that Brad's prediction was right. She and I talk more. Of course I knew this. But now I know what it really means. She not only shares more of herself, but I have a captive audience! I have one of my proteges belted in beside me. I can tell her how if people would just stand up straight, they'd take 5 pounds off the gut. (She says, "So when I slump, I'm really 83 lbs.?" I say, "No, no, no. Visually.") I can tell her that if she meets a boy, and his father isn't very nice to his mother, stay away from him! Or that even at 35, even I don't know which strangers I can trust.
Shortly, she'll have to take turns with Seth and Arwen for the front seat, which means another fight. Anything of value to children can be used as leverage to get good behavior. So there'll still be times that I can sit alone up front and talk to myself.
Things that Savannah has said lately, "If I were a hobo, I'd come to Trader Joe's all the time, for the samples."
...a week passes...
"If I were a hobo, I'd go to Safeway for dessert, for the free cookie."