Back-to-School Letter to Our School Bus Driver

boarding school busDear School Bus Driver,

This isn’t my first time at this, and I’m surprised at how nervous I am even this second time around. I don’t like to think of myself as an overly anxious parent, you know? So, please don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, and I certainly don’t appreciate when people try to tell me how to do mine. But I just want you to know, up front, that when you pull away from the end of my block today you’ll be taking my heart with you.

I know that as the yellow school bus pulls away from the curb I’ll be straining to see if my kids are waving. I also know that I’ll be torn between wanting to play it cool and running alongside the bus blowing frantic kisses. The kids are young enough that it doesn’t embarrass them yet, and I need to take advantage as long as it lasts.

My youngest, my daughter, is so excited to ride the bus to school like her big brother. So excited. But she’s also nervous that she’ll have trouble with her seatbelt or that she will leave her lunch on the bus. And that’s on top of wondering if she’ll find her class or make Kindergarten friends.

My  son, the old pro, is less worried about finding his class, but he still wonders about whether rough kids will sit next to him and about whether someone will make fun of the t-shirt he picked out for his first day of second grade.

I don’t want them to get special attention, not more than anyone else’s children. But could you do me a favor and give them a grin and a “Good Morning!” when they get on the bus? You’d probably do that anyway, but just in case, you know?

I understand that you have a schedule to keep and scores of children to drive around all morning. It’s not an easy job, and I know how rushed drivers and pedestrians are around here. But you should know that I get nervous even when my own parents are driving my kids around. I rarely even let them ride in cars driven by trusted friends. Heck, I get nervous driving around myself with the way people chat on phones and race through lights and take tight turns. In case you didn’t know, I am trusting you to bring my son, my daughter, to their first day of school safely and on-time. But mostly safely.

No, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job. But I know how horrible kids can be sometimes. I know how mean and vicious and ugly they can be. And that’s what we all remember more easily. I know that. But that’s not my kid — not now, and with any luck it won’t ever be.

So please, School Bus Driver, when you open the doors of your bus to let my two-part heart climb up those big steps and sit in a seat that’s two sizes too large, please don’t mind the quivering, teary-eyed lady who looks like she is about to implode. Just be careful with her heart – disguised as a five-year-old girl and a nervously protective big brother.

A version of this post first appeared on Barista Kids two years ago.

About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to car culture, dealing with leaving a career I loved, and spouting off along the way. Do The Most Good.
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20 Responses to Back-to-School Letter to Our School Bus Driver

  1. I have to admit, I’m so glad my kid doesn’t take a bus. I really like that I walk him to school and stay there until he goes inside. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he wants to walk alone though.

  2. Natalie DeYoung says:

    Oh gosh. Cue up the waterworks. This was really well written, I felt it in my gut–and I don’t even have kids!

  3. The night before the first day of kindergarten and Philip’s first experience riding a bus to school, I find myself wondering if I should go in late to work tomorrow to be there. On the one hand, it will not be the usual routine, so it’s not helpful. On the other, I know my husband won’t remember to take first day of school photos because he’ll be worried about getting him on the bus. And then there will be me crying. I’m crying just thinking about it. Aaaaghhh!

  4. Clare says:

    This is so sweet. I’m with Natalie, no kids but you took me right there with you, my heart aching, running along the side of the bus, nearly blubbering but keeping it together.

  5. Every stage of release holds an empty ache before embracing what comes next. This is how life is when your heart roams free in the world. ((hugs))

  6. saroful says:

    Wait… seatbelt? They have those now? Oh geez. My mom must have been PETRIFIED when we got on the bus.

  7. Oh, I love this!!! I wrote a piece similar a couple of weeks ago, but yours captures everything I couldn’t say. That durned bus, right?
    This is so well-written and poignant. Thanks for stopping by my space (one of my spaces!) yesterday and commenting. It led me right here to you!

  8. Stacie says:

    I so hear you. Shane took the bus when we were in NJ. On the first day of school, all the bus moms wave goodbye and the drive down to the school to wait for the bus to arrive 🙂

  9. I felt your words in my heart. How hard it must be when that big yellow taxi with the driver you don’t know drives away.

  10. Meg says:

    I always love the letter used as a device to tell a story. Beautifully, eloquently written. (And I was like Rowan, “Wait. Seatbelts now??”)

  11. Melanie L. says:

    I’m with Michelle, I’m happy I get to walk my son to school when he starts K in two weeks. I think the school bus would be too terrifying for me. Not him. He wants to ride a bus. But I can imagine what a leap of faith it is to put your kids on the bus.

  12. GennaClaire says:

    Oh, this just broke my heart in a sweet way. What lucky kids to have a mom like you. May all the bus rides be safe and uneventful for all the school years to come.

  13. I love this so much. No buses here, but all the same feelings in the long goodbye on the blacktop and the last wistful waves.

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