I get it. It’s no longer 1990.
Google “school bus” and I guarantee that you will find at least one bus-riding tragedy making national news.
In fact, our preparation for modern parenting now tells us that we have everything to fear…and little to trust.
So the very thought of allowing your child to ride the bus is freakin’ terrifying.
I thought so, too, which is why I elected to make my Kindergartner an afternoon car rider.
Only, after the first day of school, he voiced disappointment in that dramatic five-year-old way:
“Mom, I wish I could ride the bus!”
The whole interaction led me to pause:
Where was his jubilation at pick-up?
Why would he want to subject himself to potential bullying?
What’s even attractive about riding the bus?
This is when we parents need to remind ourselves that our children don’t know what we know. (Certainly not the story of the boy on the milk carton!)
Frankly, it’s REFRESHING. And it offers hope for the future.
So I decided to silence every cautionary voice in my head and say something I never thought I would:
“Okay, if you want to ride the bus, we’ll give it a shot.”
Truly, there is no vulnerability in early parenting quite like allowing your child to ride the bus. That first afternoon I paced and paced with my three-year-old at the bus stop.
But, when the giant yellow bus opened its doors before me, my son emerged…happy. In fact, in this, his fourth week of school, the feeling remains.
It’s still his favorite part of the day.
I’ll admit, the transition to bus riding hasn’t been entirely smooth: We had to navigate bus etiquette and how to avoid pushy kids. He also had to master scanning his bus card before exiting.
But what my son is learning every afternoon is that there are environments where Mom can’t go - where he can thrive with his peers outside of the classroom. He doesn’t know all of his bus mates, but he is learning new faces each day.
And I am slowly freeing myself from the fear of uncertainty that plagues these years of early parenthood.
Let your kids ride the bus.
Welcome them with the warmth of your embrace.
And, I swear, that flashing stop sign just may be the highlight of your day, too.
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