On my first day of kindergarten I was sitting on the bus on my way home from school. I was young and scared and apparently even then had a bad memory, because I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to ride the bus home or to daycare. One of my friends convinced me I was supposed to go home. So I did.
But when I got home nobody was there. I tried the door knob. It was locked. I knocked on the door. Nobody answered. I didn’t know what to do. I was five. I had no experience to deal with a situation like this. So I did what any five-year-old would do. I sat on the step and cried.
After a while my neighbor spotted me and came out to save me. She called my mom and then the neighbor either took me to daycare or my mom came and got me. I don’t remember which. It was a long time ago.
My point is…issues with the bus seem to run in the family.
Today was the first day of school. Last year Skyler and Spencer graduated from elementary school and are now attending the intermediate school. This means they go to school an hour earlier. Get home an hour earlier. And ride a new bus. They go to the same bus stop, but it’s a different bus number for this early bus.
After school the intermediate school kids ride a shuttle bus from their school over to the middle school. At the middle school they disembark the shuttle bus and get on their regular buses to ride home.
I met the bus at the bus stop at 3:15. Skyler leaped off the bus and ran over to our truck. We sat there and waited for Spencer to jump off the bus. But the bus driver shut the bus door and drove off. I scanned the kids that were still lingering around to see if Spencer was chatting with a friend. I didn’t see him.
“Was Spencer on the bus?” I asked Skyler.
“Yeah….I think so. I saw him on the shuttle bus.”
Hmm….where could he be.
I tried to call his cell phone. No answer.
Skyler said, “Oh no. My twin brother is lost.”
I tried to remain calm as I said, “It’s ok. We’ll find him.” But there was a bit of a quiver in my voice as inside I was screaming “WHERE THE FUCK IS MY KID?”
I wasn’t really sure what to do. I figured he probably got on the wrong bus, but how would I figure out what bus he was on. I couldn’t really drive around the whole district stopping buses to see if my son had accidentally gotten on their bus.
I tried Spencer’s cell phone again. No answer.
I decided to head for home to call the transportation office. On the way I called Lee to let him know we were one child down. Lee was no help.
By the time I got home I was shaking. WHAT IF SOMEBODY TOOK HIM? WHAT IF HE GOT ON THE WRONG BUS AND GOT OFF IN SOME STRANGE NEIGHBORHOOD NEVER TO BE HEARD FROM AGAIN? I was trying to remain calm. But I think we all know calm is not my strong point.
I called the transportation office and began to ramble about how my son didn’t get off the bus, but we’re pretty sure he rode the shuttle bus and he’s probably on the wrong bus, but who know what bus that is or how I’ll find him and…
The woman who answered the phone interrupted my crazy with “What bus was he supposed to be on?”
“He was supposed to get off at [location where he should have exited the bus],” I responded, out of breath.
“What’s his name?” she asked.
And then I could hear her radioing the bus driver. Followed with “Oh ok. You have him? Ok. Yeah. Yep, Ok.”
I was trying to patiently wait for her to return to the phone. But, again, I think we all know patience is not a virtue I practice well.
She finally came back, told me they found him, they are taking him back to the school so he can ride the later bus home.
So at 4:15 I was back at the bus stop to meet Keaton, Caleb AND Spencer.
Keaton climbed off the bus and headed for the truck.
Caleb skipped off the bus and ran towards the truck.
And then we waited. No Spencer.
I was about to burst in to tears. Or have a heart attack. Or both.
I looked at Keaton with my crazy eyes and screamed, “Was Spencer on the bus?”
Keaton said, “Yeah.”
I sent Keaton over to the bus to go find him before the bus pulled away.
Turns out the bus driver was talking to some kid on the bus who was blocking the last few kids who were trying to get off the bus. So after a few minutes Spencer FINALLY walked off the bus and came over to the truck. He had tears in his eyes. I had tears in my eyes. We were a mess. But at least everybody was accounted for.