Every year when fall comes and I see the kids going off to school, my mind goes back to the day my first born went to kindergarten – and I have to smile!
It was a bittersweet moment years ago, but I still remember as if it were yesterday – the day my first born left the security of our home and ventured into the big world outside, going to kindergarten. How happy I was that she was growing and developing, learning to read, count and color inside the lines. But I knew I would always miss the joy of those few precious years when her world revolved around me.
Although we lived just a few blocks from the school, all the streets in our subdivision were dead end streets and the only way to school was to walk along a busy highway. For safety purposes, a school bus picked up all the kids in the subdivision. I was terrified of my little angel riding the bus and had nightmares that she would get off at the wrong street and be lost.
To ensure that did not happen, I spent several days driving her to school and back to our house, pointing out houses, trees and other landmarks that appeared just before our street. Day after day we drove the bus route and I would point out the signs that would indicate she was approaching our street. Finally, I had her point out the landmarks, and only after she had correctly recognized our street a dozen times was I satisfied that it would be safe to let her ride the bus.
The Day Arrives!
The big day arrived and I walked with her to the bus stop and made sure she was safely on the bus. The morning seemed to drag, but finally it was noon and time for my little girl to return. I sat on the front porch where I could see the bus when it stopped and waited anxiously to hear all about her first day of school. The bus pulled up to our street; the door opened and one by one I watched as the kids stepped off the bus. About a dozen kids exited the bus, but there was no sign of my daughter. The door closed and the bus driver drove off.
Panic set in! Where was my daughter? Had she already got off the bus and was she now wandering lost down another street in the subdivision? Was she still on the bus and, if so, would she exit on another street and be lost? What if someone kidnapped her? I grabbed my purse, jumped in my car and started to drive after the bus. By the time I pulled out on the highway, there was no sign of the bus.
Not knowing what route the bus took after it passed our house, I raced to the school. Running into the office, I frantically told them my daughter had not gotten off the bus at our street. They instructed me to go home because the bus driver would probably take her there when she discovered the little girl was still on the bus at the end of the route. Still frantic, I hurried back home to find my little girl sitting on the porch
Disappointed that all our practicing the last few weeks had obviously not worked, I suggested we get in the car and drive the bus route again so that she would know where our street was. “But Mommy,” she said, “I knew where our street was.” When I asked her why she had stayed on the bus if she recognized our street, she gave me a big smile and said, “I wanted to see where the other kids lived.”
This was the beginning of my daughter’s interest in the world outside our home; and her interest in the other kids, where they lived, what their lives were like only increased as she grew. Even today when school starts, she still is curious about where the other kids live. That interest in other kids led her to a career as a kindergarten and first grade teacher.
She has grown far beyond me and my little world, but every year when I see school children waiting at the bus stop, I think of that morning long ago and I smile.