Tomorrow at 7:59am, I will be putting D on the bus for his first day in a new school. This is the first time he has ever ridden a bus to and from school. I am nervous.
D has always been my sensitive child. For as long as I can remember. He doesn't adapt well to change and is hesitant to try new things. He is shy and while friendly, doesn't make friends all to easily. Going to a new school for 2nd grade is, in and of itself, a huge deal in a 7 year old boys mind. Add to that a new school, new friends, new teacher and riding a bus and he is libel to have a meltdown that would put a nucular reactor to shame.
I was so torn on putting D on the bus, that I called my dad. I am 28 (going on 29) married with 4 kids and I still call my dad to help me with things. I asked my dad what to do. He hemmed and hawed. Gee thanks dad..this is so why I called you... and we were getting nowhere until my stepmom took over...
"Put him on the bus. If you don't he will never ride the bus"
I knew she spoke from experience as not to long ago she put her 1st grader on a bus for the first time in a new school, with new friends and new teachers. But my heart still struggled.
Am I really ready to let my "baby" go?
Granted he's going to school the next town over, but it might as well be the next state over. I am as emotional as a mom watching her baby go off to college.
For the last 2 years, I have been minutes from his school. Making myself available to drop everything and pick him up or cater to his needs at a moments notice (and that I did...many many times). I was close enough that I could walk with him to and from school in Kindergarten. I was close enough that I could be there each and everyday to drop him off and pick him up. In rain, sleet or snow...
Now, I am not so close. His new school is roughly 15 minutes away, down a back road. I was not anticipating the drive in the winter. Not to mention, because it was farther, I would have to get the 3 little ones up earlier in the morning and up earlier from nap...
Putting him on the bus was the logical choice.
But still my heart struggles.
So, I decided to get the one person's opinion who truly mattered in this deal. The one person who, come Monday morning, was going to have to actually get on the bus and ride it...D's.
"What are you afraid of?" I asked him.
He hesitated. " I never rode a bus and I don't know anyone and what if I cannot remember where my teacher is or my class is?"
I looked at him. These were genuine fears. But never once did he say " I don't want to ride the bus"
"What if we can figure out a way to make this less scary?" I asked (secretly thinking....for both of us)
He willingly obliged.
We decided he would ride in the front of the bus for comfort. I would wait both before and after school at the bus stop for him (hey maybe I will make some friends in this deal ;) ) I would write his teachers name and bus number on a slip of paper and put in his backpack. He would get to know the kids in the neighborhood.
He was still nervous though. I told him that there will be teachers everywhere tomorrow, just ask. It's ok.
He shook his head and said "ok mom" I got teary eyed.
For him, accepting that he has to ride the bus and then actually doing it, this is a huge deal. This was a huge step developmentally for him. Emotionally for me.
Now, D is going to be "forced" to grow up. Take responsibilty for his actions and himself. Mom isn't going to be there when he looks back over his shoulder before going into the school. He is going to be doing this on his own. No mommy to coax him.
I still remember back to kindergarten. Each day, I had to wait until his class had gone into the building before I could leave.
So tomorrow, he will dress in his best, grab his new John Cena backpack, get on that big yellow bus and walk into a new school...without me.
I am letting go...slowly. He can do this. I can do this. Together we make a heck of a team.