Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bus Spotting as a Hobby

School began in earnest this week, with full days and homework assigned. So far it's going well. The Boy's bus has a rather unpredictable schedule thus far, but it's only the fifth day of school. I am sure it will start to be more regular, at least I hope so because right now the window of time of its possible arrival extends for about an hour.

I get a little anxious when it comes to the school bus. Okay, I really just drive everyone crazy while I am waiting for the school bus. I watch for its arrival in a near panic. It isn't the Boy's fault - he's always come straight home from the bus, it's not as if he's ever missed it and tried to cross highways to get home while sustaining himself on the pretzel crumbs in the bottom of his backpack. He's never done anything that would indicate that he's not capable of getting home on a school bus. The problem is really just a holdover from my first experience with a school bus when the Girl began school.

The Girl had been cared for by her grandmother until that first day of Kindergarten. I had watched the school bus come by every morning the year before to pick up the two boys that lived upstairs. Although they were not going to the same school anymore, I assumed the bus would make its regular stop for my daughter. That first day we stood expectantly outside the house until well after the time that school was beginning. The school apparently hadn't told the bus company that they still had to stop for children at that location.

The next day the bus did stop to pick her up. Not taking any chances, I hopped in the car and drove to the school to be sure that they had delivered her to the right place.

The third day of school, the bus picked her up, but never dropped her off. When the bus driver finished his route he noticed that he still had a small child on board. He drove her back to the school (with which I had been in feverish contact) and I had to pick her up there.

Things then went rather well for a while. I followed the bus to school for several days and all continued to go as planned. I began to relax. Then they did it again. Another bus driver who had my child on board at the end of her run, and didn't know where she belonged.

As you can imagine, my faith in the reliability of the school bus has been somewhat shaken. I drove both children to different schools for many years rather than face the uncertainty of bus stops and drop off points.

So now when I sit by the window looking for a patch of yellow to show through between the houses on the next street over, or nervously watch the clock from ten minutes before it's supposed to arrive and call the school immediately if the bus is a moment late, it seems to others that my anxiety is far greater than is warranted.

Perhaps when the Boy is 16 or so, I will be able to go about my day without looking out the window for the bus, or anxiously count the minutes till it arrives. Perhaps, but I doubt it.

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