The little yellow bus
March 23, 2014 § 2 Comments
When my daughter was three and she started at integrated preschool she had to get on the little yellow bus. It was the same day my son started in kindergarten on the big yellow bus.
I felt like I wanted to throw up!
It was one thing to put my kindergartner on a bus for the first time, to a new school with very few friends (we had only recently moved to town), but my 3 year old with needs…. was I nuts???
From day one I never questioned that I was making the right decision albeit a difficult one to swallow. Most parents in this preschool program opted to drive their kids.
My thoughts were always about her future, never about the “now”. I thought about how important it would be to establish “need” if I wanted her to have special transportation after preschool. I also thought about her independence and that the little yellow bus was a logical step for her to take before boarding the big yellow bus in two years which was what I hoped for her.
I remember helping her up the gigantic stairs on the bus, meeting the drivers, seating her and strapping her seatbelt – 5 point harness – yup she was that tiny. Those drivers were wonderful women and made me feel safe but I still followed the bus all the way to the school!
I returned home and waited patiently for her to be delivered home on that little bus 2 and 1/2 hours later. It was that same day when I got my first “call” from the school. I saw the phone number, before I answered and felt for the first time, the dread that would come to be associated with seeing that number on my caller ID. The good news was – the bus broke down – everything was fine – but I had to go get her and that was fine by me.
Entering kindergarten she started on the big yellow bus. It’s never been easy. School busses are laden with bullies. There was a time the kids were making her dance and they would all laugh at her. After that I would stand waiting for the bus glaring at them. Several times the bus has driven right by our house forgetting to drop her off, that’s never fun!
But as she has aged it’s finally just become transportation. Sometimes she sits with a friend but often she sits alone. It doesn’t make me sad. It makes me proud. She is a tough girl and had learned a lot about independence and sticking up for herself by riding the bus.
Parents and teachers – don’t shy away from these experiences. Simetimes we just want to protect our kids as much as we can – but we really need to teach them to be independent, resilient and self-reliant.