Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The longest school bus ride EVER!

So, today, my school bus nightmare came true. It's probably some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, because I already had anxiety about my little guy riding the bus (see Kindergarten Countdown for more of my neurotic ramblings on the topic), so I probably created some kind of negative energy that resulted in today's mini-disaster.

Here's what happened... Today was Spencer's first time riding the bus home from morning Kindergarten. Not wanting to be late, I flew out of work, played havoc with the speed limit, and made record time driving across town, so that I could be on time to meet his bus. When I had called to see what time the bus would drop off, I was told it would arrive "Around 12-ish." So, I was there at 11:49, just in case. I waited at the corner (at the same place the bus drops kids off after the regular school day), looking eagerly down the hill, watching for the bus bearing my beloved child. I chatted with the friendly (and, frankly, pretty easy-on-the-eyes) Daddy who was on the other side of the street, waiting for the bus to pick UP his own Kindergartener for the afternoon session. We all waited and waited and waited... Cute Daddy was starting to get pretty antsy, but his pick-up bus finally arrived, about 10 minutes later than expected. I watched from directly across the street, as his little boy climbed up onto the bus with Cute Daddy taking pictures of every step. I caught the bus driver's eye and gave her a cheery wave, all the while wondering when Spencer's bus would chug up the hill so I could smother him with hugs and kisses. The school bus turned, right in front of me, and continued on down the hill. Cute Daddy crossed over to chat with me a little more about the neighborhood and Kindergarten and such. I was just being neighborly, you understand... My own chattiness had nothing to do with his sparkly blue eyes and nice smile. (Hey, I'm happily married, but it's not like my eyes have been gouged out of my head. I can still appreciate a little eye-candy, can't I?)

Anyway, when 12:30 had rolled around, and no drop-off bus had arrived, I was starting to get pretty anxious. Cute Daddy loaned me his cell phone, so I called the bus transportation line and explained that my little one had yet to show up. The lovely woman on the other end of the phone sighed and said, "Oh, we're showing that your son's bus was there on time at drop-off." I semi-calmly explained that I had been standing on this very spot since 11:50, and that the only bus that had come by was the one picking up kids for afternoon Kindergarten. "Yeah, that's the bus," she replied. Cue the instant migraine! "But, the bus always drops the big kids off on the other side of the street, and I was standing RIGHT there! The bus driver waved at me! Do you mean to tell me that my son is still on that bus???" (All the time, I was thinking to myself, "I KNEW he shouldn't be riding the bus. He's just a baaaabbbbyyyyyy........") Then, with an edge of hysteria in my voice, I asked, "Where is my son at this exact moment?" I was told that I needed to drive to his elementary school, and that he'd be arriving there in 20 more minutes. Keep in mind that, at this point, my little 5-year-old had already been riding the bus for over an hour. What if he had to pee? What if he was crying and wondering why I hadn't picked him up? What if he was all alone and scared on his long, long bus ride?

Meanwhile, I was now almost half-an-hour late to pick up my younger son from his preschool, and I was on the verge of a total meltdown. So, thanking Cute Daddy for the use of the cell phone (and vowing to go get one of my own and then attach it permanently to my hip), I ran home, called my preschool to explain my situation, and headed to Spencer's school, where I paced back-and-forth in front of the entrance like a hungry tiger. The bus was 5 minutes later than expected. Then 10 minutes. Then 15. At 17 minutes past arrival time, I walked into the main office, caught the eye of the secretary, said in a small, pathetic voice, "I've lost my son," and burst into tears. The school bus arrived roughly 3 minutes later...

And, how did Spencer handle his ordeal? Was he traumatized? Did he cling to me like a limpet and tell me how much he'd missed me? Did he say that he never wants to ride the school bus again? Of course not. He hopped off the bus, wiggled out of my unusually intense embrace, and said, "Hi Mommy. That was the longest bus ride ever! I saw you waiting, and I waved at you, but you were on the wrong side of the street. Next time you need to be on the other side, OK?"

What's the lesson here? Well, it's plain to see that Spencer is way more ready for this new stage than I am. Definitely.



  1. So that bus driver was totally at fault in my opinion! She shuld have called out to you and asked if you were picking up a kinder. GRRR! Our bus driver would have! GRRR again. Glad Spence wasn't phased by it but sucks that you had to go through that! Hang in there!

  2. The drama that we have to deal with as mothers never ceases to amaze me! Hang in there!

    BTW, just found your blog! I am following! Would love for you to check mine out as well. :)

  3. Beth! Long time no talk old friend (sorry, not old). I'm so sorry I lost touch and would love to reconnect. I'm not sure you read the comments but I found your blog (Love it BTW!) and I'm hoping to talk to you computer to computer some time wendyb1066@gmail.com. EATM '92 Wendy Blum

  4. Kate, thanks for understanding. Theta Mom, I can't wait to check out your blog. Wendy, what a great surprise. We have some serious catching-up to do. I'll email you as soon as the chaos of starting back to work has slowed down a bit. Cheers!

  5. Oh my GOD! What a nightmare. I'm so sorry! I hope you've recovered. :-)