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Big boys ride the bus

Submitted by on Tuesday, 17 August 2010 No Comment

He trundled to the bus stop less than a football field’s length from our back door, waddling slightly from the balk of a backpack a tad to big for him. He clutched a sheath of yellow papers in his hand – the documents he needed to give the driver to prove that it’s OK with his mom for him to ride.

Except it’s so not OK with his mom.

There’s nothing particularly intimidating about a school bus. Sure, they’re a little bigger than your average sedan, but when you used to spend an hour and a half a day on one during high school you get over being impressed pretty quickly.

But then you have kids, and one by one they begin to clamor to ride it. That used to crack me up considering that I spent my entire senior year trying to gin up excuses to not ride the bus.

With Big Guy, I was able to stall him a year because we lived too close to the school for bus service when he was in kindergarten. I stalled him for nearly a month last year by claiming that I hadn’t had time to finish his sheath of yellow papers. When I could put him off no longer – and when Boots threw a Death Tantrum as we went to pick up his brother – I finally “found time” to fill out the paperwork.

Seeing his brother’s pure bliss at escaping the maternal clutches, Boots was determined to ride the bus from the start this year. “No,” I said. “I’m going to take you the first day. After that, you can ride the bus.”

Perhaps remembering the way I shuffled Big Guy’s paperwork for weeks last year, he insisted on a solemn vow. “Do you promise? Do you really promise that I’ll get to ride Friday?”

“Yes, I promise,” I sighed.

“I”m a big boy, and big boys ride the bus.”

“OK, I promise,” I said.

Except I didn’t want to. He’s so tiny and the bus is so big. But it’s not that I had fears for his safety, and even if I missed meeting the bus he couldn’t possibly get lost on the 100 yards between the stop and our back door.

Rather, I instead feared the milestone.

I’ve always taken Boots to school, and last year it was one of our special times, just his and mine. We’d talk about his day, I’d chat with his teachers, I’d see his friends. Letting my tiny boy, my last baby, climb on that big yellow bus meant I’d lose all of that.

From Boots’ perspective, though, it was time for me to let go.

As I watched him shuffle across the sand toward the stop, I was glad I did. In his eyes, he was doing something huge and he was doing it on his own. I was just as proud as I was melancholy.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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