Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bus confusion

“What is it with me and buses?”  I grumbled to myself today. I don’t know WHY but something keeps going on when it involves a bus – whether it’s a city bus or a school bus. (I’ve ridden the Greyhound bus but don’t recall anything bad happening then. But still!) Maybe this being the first day means I need to work things out, but who knows.

Well, today, Jesse started riding the bus to and from school. Before today, I asked the secretary arranging bus transport about the bus stops and locations, since Jesse has PM kindergarten so it might be different. I was told the bus stop was the same one Jennifer went to when she was riding the bus to that school – but this time the secretary pointed out that pick-up was on the WEST side of the street, not the east side. But I didn’t so much pay attention to that. I was more concerned about Jesse’s ride BACK.

And I guess I had good reason to be!

This morning, as we patiently waited on the corner for his bus, it happened that we were on the wrong side of the street! (East side.) But the bus driver seemed to know Jesse was her ride so she waited as we crossed the street then came up to the bus. Before Jesse got on the school bus, I confirmed this was indeed going to his school and she pointed Jesse out by name. She talked to Jesse a few minutes then explained to me that she always picked up for his school on this side of the street. I thanked her for the information, told Jesse goodbye again, then stepped back as the doors closed and the bus drove off.

I figured that was that. No more bus problems for today. Wow, if only!

When it was time for Jesse to return on his bus, I first had to pick up a child I was babysitting today, because she gets out of school before Jesse’s bus arrives. Now, the problem is that, whenever I pick her up from school, it takes FOREVER to finally get to her at her school pick-up area because of all the cars, people and school buses. I mean, it gets crowded, and it usually takes me 10-15 minutes to FINALLY reach her! So I decided on a plan: I would get there right when school let out, park the car and get out to go find her. Thankfully, I did find her in good time, though we stopped to chat briefly with a friend. By the time I got to my car, I checked the time: I had 2 minutes to get to Jesse’s bus stop for his drop-off!

I got there in three. And right when I pulled up, I noticed a school bus driving away down the road. I panicked! I thought, Oh my God! Did I miss him??  I couldn’t see Jesse ANYWHERE. Would he wait for me or start walking home? And how far would he get in one minute if he DID walk?

I took off in the car, driving all around the neighborhood, slowly scanning the park as we drove past it (the park is down the street from the bus stop as well as down the street from my house). I didn’t see him! I started to panic. I circled the bus stop again. No Jesse. On my drive back, I rolled down windows and the little girl and I started calling for him as I drove. We didn’t see him anywhere!

At one point, I pulled over, got my phone out of my purse and contacted the secretary. We both thought maybe Jesse forgot to get on the bus or maybe he missed it or … something! I let her know I could not find him at the bus stop.

Then I started driving again. My heart was pounding in my chest. I was so scared my little boy was kidnapped or something! (We don’t exactly live in Mayberry!) I was scared to death and I knew I would never forgive myself if anything happened to him. I could not imagine a future without my little boy. And it was not safe for him to walk home alone; he’s only 5! I was driving and praying. Please, God, help me find my son. I was just so wracked with worry.

The little girl suggested I check the house again but then I had a feeling to check the bus stop one more time. So I drove back over there and, thank God, THERE was Jesse’s bus pulling up at the corner!! I had not missed his bus! That other bus was not his; THIS bus was his! Oh, thank God. We were SO relieved. I was a bit irked his bus was late (by 10 minutes! They seemed to tick away so slowly as I was frantically searching for him!) but there it was at last. I was so thrilled at the sight of my sweet boy stepping off the school bus. I was smiling and waving at him as he walked over to the car and both I and the little girl sent up prayers of thanks. And when my son got to my door, I just hugged him and kissed him so much. I was SO glad to see him! Of course, he was confused by my actions but he just smiled and hugged me back, too.

That incident really scared me. It’s always scary when you don’t know where your child is. I am just so relieved he was okay and that nothing happened.

Well, later on, I talked with my husband about it. He was bothered that I was a minute late to the bus stop but then he said, “You can’t do everything.” I know I can’t. I know I have to figure something out. I won't compromise the safety of my children – or the children in my care. I need to figure something out for both of them.

I also talked to the little girl’s mom. She agreed it was a scary experience. I asked her about an idea on a certain “pick-up schedule” for both kids but she hasn’t gotten back to me on that yet. But I know we need to get our heads together and figure something out.

I am only glad that today had a happy ending.

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