I still remember riding the school bus. It was a rite of passage. I’d just graduated from the after school daycare that was within walking distance from Z. L. Madden Elementary … basically across the street from the school. My parents probably allowed me to become a latchkey kid because I got braces early in life. Translated, child care bill was replaced by orthodontic bill.
My parents did not have a choice. They both worked 8-5 jobs outside the home.
Now that I’m a parent I do have a choice and I do not take that choice for granted.
I’m first world privileged and I have the anxiety to prove it.
I’ve heard the pros and cons of school bus riding.
And I’m going to confess, I meant to get him on that thing last year when we started at the neighborhood public school. It was going to be a lesson in independence. It was going to be his introduction to all those soon to be friends who lived nearby. It was going to be a time saver for me.
The only reason he didn’t ride the bus last year is because I’m a procrastinator. I never signed him up for the bus or requested a stop near our house or filled out the proper form or …
You get the idea. More than not doing something, I didn’t even find out what I needed to do in order to get that boy on the bus.
So my stay-at-home mom schedule continued to be dictated by school pick-up time.
A little back to school post card arrived last week. There was something in the tiny print about the bus.
So I called my best friend.
She’s a teacher, a special-ed guru, a no-nonsense sort of parent. We’re opposite in so many ways. She pushes me to do more, to think larger, to be better.
Should I make him ride the bus this year?
I hope you have a best friend who listens. Because this best friend listens to me. Even all last school year. So she was able to answer quickly.
Do you remember all the things you heard about in the car on that ride home last year?
For all the times I wanted to roll my eyes at the way he stumbled himself and his stuff into the car and gave me that how dare you send me to this place stare, there were also the days he got in spewing out information and emotion.
There was that excitement about selling candy bars and what he was going to win that turned into discussions of salesmanship and school funding and the cost of inflation and if there was a world record yet for the number of candy bars eaten in one afternoon.
There was that sadness about a new student who couldn’t speak English yet that turned into discussions of teacher tactics and cultures and how to be a friend and those apps that claim to teach you a second language in just a few weeks.
There was that confusion about the bathroom incident that turned into discussions of bullying and sexual orientation.
I could go on and on and on.
What my friend reminded me of was the fact that for me and my son, car time was sometimes the best time of the day. Your time with yours may happen at the dinner table or at batting practice or at bedtime prayers.
But, I can’t sacrifice prime talk time.
We’re going to be a car rider yet again this year.