I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is knowing when to give up some control and put some trust in someone else.
My son has wanted to ride the school bus since his first day of kindergarten. We said, “Absolutely not!”
As first grade approached, we got the same plea to ride the bus from him.
“No, maybe when you’re older!” We shrugged. I continued to make the 15-minute drive one way to his school to take him and pick him up. And when my niece couldn’t get home on the first day of school last year in Wake County’s worse school bus fiasco ever, I knew I made the right decision for my family again.
There were a lot of reasons why we chose to drive him, too. We didn’t live near the school. He would be the last one to get off the bus the way the route was planned. We felt the bus ride would be too long. We had more cons for riding the bus than pros.
But this year, when his teacher assignment came in the mail, so did new information on his bus stop. Changes were made to the transportation system. His bus route was different, and we saw positive changes. Instead of being last to get off the bus in the afternoon, he would now be the second stop after the bus left the school for this school year.
The way I saw it, he would get home earlier this year by riding the bus than last year because I am always the next-to-last car to pull up at carpool. If they say car pool closes at 4 p.m., then I timed it so I would pull up right at 3:58 p.m. I’m not the type of mom who sits in a carpool and waits unless I have been out running errands and don’t want to go home first. Afternoons were my time to write and work on some deadlines, and I would do those things until the last possible minute, then I would have to struggle with another little person to put on her shoes. I felt as if I was always running a race against the clock.
I also knew that with my son riding the bus, at least once, we would also save a little money. Gas is a huge expense in our family because of the commute to school.
We have granted our son’s wish to the ride the bus this year. Before school started, I drilled him with his bus name. I had him tell me his bus stop every hour on the hour. I put our cell phone numbers and other important information in a safe place in his backpack.
But on that first day of school, I was a nervous wreck, and as the clock raced toward the end of school, my heart beat even faster.
It’s not easy to trust your child with someone else, and I’m sure this will be the first milestone of many in which I will have to let go just a little more. It’s part of the life cycle.
But he may just get an even bigger hug when he gets home daily.