I didn't expect to react this way. Really. But as the engine of the big yellow school bus roared as it pulled away from our corner, I cried. Today was a first for D. In the realm of "first this and first that," riding a school bus alone for the first time is a biggie.
At his previous school, it was a half-day program and we not only had to drive him there every day, but we had to sign him in as well as walk him to the door of his classroom. That's why this transition has been so huge for him-- and for me. It started with the all-day schedule...and more kids in his class...then it was hopping out of the car-rider line by himself to walk in to class. Now--well, we're in full-on big boy mode.
He was so excited as it neared time for the bus to arrive, he just about popped with anticipation.
"What do you want for breakfast?," I asked him.
"Anything that won't take so long that I miss the bus," he answered.
So, after scarfing down a bowl of Shredded Wheat, he jumped up and threw on his coat and backpack. Making sure that Baby J. was sound asleep in his glider, we darted out the front door to meet the bus at the bottom of the driveway.
At first we were the only ones waiting but, one by one, kids started approaching from all directions. One little girl with platinum blonde hair and big blue eyes introduced herself as a fellow kindergartener and told D. he was welcome to sit with her on the bus. It really was the sweetest thing ever and I chuckled as he smiled a sheepish, uncharacteristically shy smile and accepted the offer.
When the bus arrived, I introduced myself to the driver and she was extremely nice. As D. was stepping on the highest step he turned to me and frantically asked, "What's my bus number, Mommy?! What's the number?!!"
"92!," I replied and, with that, he disappeared into an abyss of seats and backpacks.
But, just as the driver was closing the doors, I heard a sweet voice utter, bravely, "Bye...Mom."
Cue the waterworks, folks.
And, as the big yellow bus pulled away and headed toward the beautiful rolling hills that lead to his school, I cried. I cried because he's growing up and because I'm so proud that my little man is so brave. I cried because he is trying new things and making his way without me holding his hand every step of the way. But mostly, I cried because I love him more than he could ever know.