When Alden came home from the first day of school, he said, “I can’t wait for Friday!”
“Why is that?”
“Because I’m gonna ride the bus!”
There are THIRTEEN children at Alden’s bus stop, just around the corner. All ages 5 – 8 and all within a block or two of our house. This is pretty awesome. We (parents) already knew quite a few of the families, some vaguely, some more. This is why we live here. This is why we are sending Alden to public school this year. This is what we want.
Alden clutched my hand as we approached the bus stop. First graders raced toward each other, older children confidently stepped into line. Alden spotted the couple of children he knew, but didn’t say a word and gripped my hand harder, tugging, asking me to get in line with him.
When the big yellow bus rounded the corner, I said, “OK, buddy, gimme a kiss!” He did. “Have a great day!” He nodded, squared his shoulders and focused on the line.
The bus windows are kinda tinted, so I couldn’t tell where he sat, so I just waved at every little head I saw.
With that unmistakable whoosh the door was shut and the bus moved implacably away. I burst into tears and headed for the car— the plan was to meet him on the playground when the bus arrived.
Which we did, for the first few days. Then, we didn’t, and I again fell apart, and asked a friend who WAS heading to the playground to keep an eye out for him and maybe text me. She did; he was “all smiles.”
There is so much new about this whole experience, for him, and maybe especially for us. I am reluctant to write too much about it yet; it’s too undigested, and too superficial, really, as of yet. It’s time to experience this new situation, rather than evaluate it, judge it, criticize it. For right now, we’re on the bus.