bus stop

I felt a twinge driving to work on Philip’s first day of kindergarten. I wanted to stay home to see him get on the school bus. It was irrational. Being there the first time wouldn’t help me control what happened after the yellow doors closed. Still, I thought how that would be the first of countless times I wouldn’t be there for pick-up or drop-off. It was one of those moments that made me hate working outside the home. But there would be no home without my job, so off to work I drove.

Waiting for the busLess than a week later, I got to fulfill my stay-at-home-mom fantasy. I walked Philip to the bus. I took pictures while we waited. Most of them came out sideways and blurry since I was afraid to let go of Philip’s hand and he was in his usual perpetual motion mode. The bus stopped at the end of our street, the doors open, and I gave Philip a gentle push. He took his time climbing aboard, soaking in the still unfamiliar sensations: the rumble of the engine, the smell of the exhaust, the feel of the hand rail, the stretch required to get his small legs up the big steps. Finally, he took “his” seat in the first row, right side. The driver handed him a small bag. Peter had told me about this. It holds toys to keep Philip occupied.

I waved at Philip as he rocked in his seat. The doors closed and the bus pulled away. I snapped a photo. By some small miracle I didn’t cry.  Maybe it was because I knew that things were okay even though I can’t be there.

It turned out that, because of Peter’s surgery and the related doctor’s appointments, I’ve had  several opportunities to send Philip off to school and welcome him home. I’m not the only one doing the welcoming. He is greeted by other children on the bus in the morning and gets a warm send-off each afternoon.

On the day of Peter’s surgery, a substitute driver opened the doors. I was explaining how Philip’s aunt would meet the bus that afternoon. A boy standing behind the bus driver and helping Philip with his bag nodded at me and said, “Okay!” That was more reassuring than anything the driver could have said.

Yesterday, I put Philip on the school bus once more. He had been crying because I made him stop playing and put on his shoes. He wailed as we waited, frustrated that I wouldn’t let him stomp in puddles and probably tired from being up since 3 am. He kicked at the stones in the road and tried to pull away from me.

I saw it coming. “Oh, look. It’s the bus!” Philip immediately stopped crying. He didn’t smile, but his face relaxed. He stopped tugging to break free of my grasp. He stopped kicking gravel into puddles. He waited, rocking slightly.

The bus hissed to a stop and the doors opened. “Hi, Philip!” I heard from inside. I even got a few waves and smiles myself despite my infrequent appearances. I guess I rate okay as Philip’s mom. I waved back and watched the bus pull away.

By some small miracle, I didn’t cry.

19 thoughts on “bus stop

  1. Can I just say how I’ve been there hundred times I know how you feel. Great post. On my son and daughter’s morning route they changed the driver that he had for over a year she was a pleasant lady and he’s had to endure a different person every week. I thought he’d be super upset because another years that might’ve been hard to handle but instead every day he would just tell me that he missed her. I think it’s like the the mill your school crossing guard it’s a security blanket the familiar that they can hang onto. also who we can hang onto right?😊

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    1. The regular driver, Tina, is just great. I recruited a neighbor girl to help, but the driver made arrangements with other students so that the neighbor girl could have a break. And she put together that little bag, and Philip smiles for her.
      The district ordered a harness, but decided they don’t need to install it since Philip is doing so well. It’s such a relief that he is having a good experience.

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      1. I am so happy for Phillip that he’s having a good experience. Once Johnny could start talking he told me the reason why he get upset and get out of his seat and do a seatbelt and get the drivers attention was because she kept changing the route all the time. He was afraid he wasn’t getting to this afternoon school that he loves so much. I think that when it comes to children on the spectrum that it’s always better to Brazil competence and create situation so they can be a success and it sounds like that’s what’s happened for your son. Have a wonderful weekend

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  2. Oh gosh I feel you…my son is not in kinder yet, and he is obsessed with school busses, but sending him off….gives me total anxiety. I fear he will have an epic meltdown and get teased and then I fear even more, highly unlikely things….so glad you and he “survived” and it made me smile to see the bus driver make accomodations for him!

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  3. i didn’t cry either, but i wanted to as I read your post. As a former teacher and principal, I saw the kindness and concern young children routinely show one another and it always filled up my heart.

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  4. Such a beautiful post. Sending a hug from Scotland. Delighted to hear that Philip is doing so well. I’ve been hanging out over at “speakeasy” lately but I can’t believe how much he has grown since I last stopped by. Best wishes!

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  5. Well you didn’t cry but this post made me tear up! I m so happy he is having a great experience. I love that he has friends looking out for him on the bus and kudos for the fidget bag to keep him busy during the ride.

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