This year, my son started kindergarten. The first morning I sent him on the bus, I teared up a little, realizing my little baby boy was growing up so fast. My Mama heart was comforted seeing him settle into seat #5, next to his friend from three doors down, a smile on his face, waving goodbye as the bus drove down the street. The bittersweetness of the moment was tempered by the fact that his two little brothers are still at home and demand a lot of attention from Mama still.
One of my favorite times of the day now is around 4:41 p.m.
I religiously check the Petermann bus app on the phone, to keep tabs on the whereabouts of the green turtle bus. And when I see the bus icon blinking on our street, I head outside (if not already out there with the kids) and wait for the bus to stop at our driveway. I love watching him jump off the bus and race over to me to give me a hug and hand me his tote bag so he can run off to play with the neighbors or get a snack. And then I check his BEE (Bring Everything Everyday) folder for homework, projects, and important info! I also love checking his behavior calendar to see another circle colored in green and for him to tell me he had another Green Day (he made positive choices)!
This particular day, I was sick with a low-grade fever, congestion/runny nose, and a deep rattling cough, so I walked out at the last minute possible, carrying the baby on my hip, and my 4-year-old tagging along behind with no shoes on. Because moms don’t get sick days! The bus was not slowing down and the stop sign was not coming out. As I realized that the bus was NOT stopping at our driveway, I looked and saw my son’s face peering out the window – an expression of panic that I’m sure mirrored my own spread across his sweet face – pleading with me to fix this. I mouthed to him, “Get off at the next stop!” but couldn’t tell if he had understood or not.
I tore down the sidewalk, the baby bouncing on my hips, 4-year-old running down the sidewalk in his socks.
Nose dripping, coughing, gasping, I was a mess (passersby probably thought I was a crazy woman). The thought crossed my mind, “How am I going to get my child?!” I tried to chase the bus down and get there when it stopped way down the street to tell my son to get off there and then we’d walk home, but in my current state, there was no way I could get there fast enough, and the bus took off again.
In a fit of panic, I texted my husband, “The bus didn’t stop!” l then called him, “The bus didn’t drop Jude off and it’s still going and I don’t know what to do!” Because I had no idea how I was going to get my kid. No idea if the bus would circle back and had no way to communicate with the bus driver or my son. In my mind, that video of the boy who rang a neighbor’s doorbell because the bus driver just had him get off at a random stop kept playing over and over…
My husband who works from home stopped work early in an effort to chase down the bus in his car and retrieve our son. Exhausted, I walked home with the other two. This was not the level of exertion I needed today while fighting a terrible chest cold. And let me tell you, my baby is a buster – a 10-month-old, 27 pound, bundle of love! Just toting him around is a workout on a good day. I think the 4-year-old was caught up in the excitement and didn’t want to walk home, but I really wanted to be there in case my husband missed our son and the bus brought him back. I didn’t want the bus to stop and there not be anyone home because we had all left to chase the bus!
So, finally, my boy reluctantly complied and we waited for about a minute before Daddy and big brother arrived at home.
My boy is resilient and had a huge smile on his face when he came out of the car. He thought it was a big adventure! Even though it was scary at the moment, I think it will probably be a cherished memory! A funny kindergarten bus ride mishap!
The next morning, when the bus picked our kindergartner up, the driver assured me, “What happened yesterday will NOT happen today, I promise!” We shared a little chuckle and I told my boy to have a good day.
Do you and your kiddos have any funny bus mishap stories of your own?