So, for those of you who know my daughter, you know the first time on the bus was going to probably be a BIG DEAL. My oldest daughter probably had the hardest time with our divorce last year, but it was a slow developed reaction. Granted, some of the behaviors that came from this life altering change in her life were there before. For example, her fear of places closing and her getting locked in. This one was HUGE!!! For the entire summer there were very few places we could go, and if we did by some odd miracle get her somewhere, we would have to leave early because she melted down. We couldn’t even go to a park, especially if it had gates, because she was sure it would lock and we wouldn’t be able to get out.
Last year school was a rough transition for her with lots of meltdowns, low self-esteem, and a lot of struggling academically. So this year when I finally made the decision to send her to the same public school that I had gone to so many years ago, I was a nervous wreck. Seriously, I was at my brother’s when the deal was sealed, and you would have thought I was going to knowingly kill her best friend.
Needless to say, despite all of the heart wrenching transitions we have had to make with her, this decision she took in stride and with a zeal that I have never before seen in her. After telling her and seeing her experience Meet your Teacher and the first days of school, I can honestly say that I will never again doubt her ability to rise to the occasion. I also learned a lot about my behavior and how it affects her and will work my hardest to never again let her see my own fear and anxieties.
The bus was the one exception. We knew it was going to be BIG. Her and I discussed it at length and had come to the agreement that I would take her the first week, but after that she would begin riding the bus. Because of visitation, her dad had them on Monday and Tuesday morning, and not wanting to make it confusing for the bus driver I decided to wait until Wednesday to give her the full effect of riding the bus in the morning and afternoon. It was a good thing too. It just so happened that I got the opportunity to talk to the bus driver on Tuesday when I went to school to pick her up. I’m pretty sure it was his first year as a bus driver, especially on this route, because when I asked him about the street we lived on he acted as if he had no idea what I was talking about. After about three minutes of a confusing discussion which got us no where, another of the bus drivers came up and explained where I was talking about. He made some comment like “Oh! That’s the road I kept missing!” Crap. I assured him we would be out in front when he went up the hill, that way he would have an idea of where to stop.
This morning the first words out of my daughters mouth when she woke up were, “I don’t want to ride the bus, I DON’T WANT TO RIDE THE BUS!!!” After some prodding and insisting that it was no big deal, and that she was going to try it today no matter what I got her going. Then at breakfast we made jokes about how she was going to “catch” the bus and danced the fishing dance. We went out, the bus driver went up the hill (pretty sure without even seeing us) and came down and stopped at our house.
When he saw me he said, “Hey! I met you yesterday!” Yep, Francis, glad you remembered. I was most worried about her coming back home, but 2:30pm like clock work he dropped her off again. We do highs and lows at dinnertime, and you guessed it, her high was riding the bus. Said she was going to ride the bus from now on. My favorite of this entire story is the picture I got when she got off the bus this afternoon. Pay attention to the bus driver in the background. Priceless.