Written by Jessica on Friday, August 08, 2008

Don't get offended and let me explain.

Today as I sat in the 7/10 of a mile long line of cars to pick my son up from school, I had lots of time to think. (Yes, I used my trip odometer to measure!) After getting to the school on time the first day, 10 minutes late the 2nd, I arrived 15 minutes after school dismissed the third day to allow time for other, more eager, parents to get their children first. Good plan, right? Well, not really. I still had to wait .7 miles. There were close to 100 or more cars in front of me, probably that many or more behind me, and that many or more that had already picked up their children ahead of me. (I'm guessing...) I waited patiently, really - I did, I was enjoying the peace and quiet in the van; the peace that can only mean 3 babies are sleeping soundly in the seats behind me. I observed four school buses pulling out of the school. FOUR buses! Keep in mind, this school is only K-5 and 1/2 the parents are in line with me. After the first bus passed, almost empty, I thought to myself of the gas that bus must consume each day to take only a handful of children home. To my shock another and another and another bus came down the hill and around the bend, each the same as the one before him, carrying only a few. Imagine the money the schools (our tax dollars) are spending on gas, diesel at almost $5 a gallon, to carry so few home. Why aren't children riding the bus? How are all these parents able to pick up their child each day? Think of the sacrifices parents, are making on a daily basis to keep their kids from riding the school bus. Take me for example; I'm loading up 3 babies each day, waiting in this river of cars, and unnecessarily consuming gas. Here I am, 'going green' in full force; conserving, saving, re-using, and planting everything I can. ..and using gas to do something the school would do for me; except I opt not, along with hundreds of other parents. But why?

I'm asking myself this question and I can't come up with a "good" answer. It's hard to even verbalize why, so it comes out as I just don't want him to. He's so young, what if something happens? What if he gets confused and gets on the wrong bus or gets lost. [this could happen, and did happen to me back then, but now teachers walk their kids to the buses to ensure proper transportation] What if an older kid picks on him? What if a giant spaceship fell from the sky and landed in front of his bus? You get the idea. I guess he's not riding the bus because it's one worry that I can control and eliminate. But then I think of those 4 'empty' buses driving all around town. I could help do my part and fill another seat while conserving fuel. But that's when those worries creep back in.

I rode the bus. EVERYONE rode the bus when I was in elementary/middle school, and I lived in a much, much smaller town where it may have been more feasible for parents to pick up their kids. This leads me to my question, are we raising a bunch of weenies? I was 6 months younger than Taylor, had never even been to pre-k when I started kindergarten, and guess what, I rode the bus and survived. It was a little scary. I was a very timid and shy little girl, and I survived. Surely my out-going, pre-k scholar can do the same; but then those worries creep back in.

It seems like all things get better with each generation. I guess this is just the transition to the next step, whatever that is.. For example, our grandparents walked to school in the snow, up hill both ways. Our parents walked 10 miles to school and the lucky ones got to ride a bus. My generation (at least where I came from) all rode the bus, and the lucky ones that had a doctor's appointment or something got picked up by their parents. Now being a 'car-rider' is a given with a few that ride the bus. I almost said a few 'unfortunate' ones...but I don't know. Taylor, if given the option, would love to ride on the cool school bus. So, that begs the question, who's really scared of the bus, mom or Taylor?

Well, there's my thoughts on that. I told you the line was long.

For now, I'll continue to load up the van I've affectionately named Big Blue, and take/pick him up each day. A silver lining is that I get to spend 5-10 minutes with a captured audience. Taylor and Madilyn, whom I also pick up, both have no choice but to sit and tell me about their day. For Madi, that's no biggy. But for Taylor, it's huge. I can't make him be still and stay focused long enough at home to tell me anything, so that time he's buckled down is precious.

1 i *heart* comments!:

Meredith said...

I don't think we are raising a bunch of weenie's...I think we are the weenie's. I know I am. I want to thank you for picking up Madilyn too. If it wasn't for you, I would be in that line burning up gas as well. I just can't fathom the thought of putting my kindergartener on a bus. At least not yet. I'm such a sissy.