The school bus is new to us this year.  My two children have always ridden to school in one car or another.  I usually have had the, ahem, privilege of getting  into my car, either in the morning or afternoon, and traipsing off to school to drop off or pick up my precious angels.

This year, the school bus stops literally outside my front door.  I commented this morning to my husband that my only regret is that I have to actually be dressed to take my kids to the bus stop…PJ’s aren’t really fashionable bus stop attire.  Especially not old mom’s PJ’s (as my daughter perceives it).  However, as my husband so wisely pointed out, it is a small price to pay for the joy of walking out the door, putting my children on the bus and walking back inside, all within the space of approximately 3.5 minutes.  It’s a beautiful thing.

My son, who is in first grade, was exceedingly overjoyed at the prospect of riding the bus this year.  My daughter, to a lesser degree, was also thrilled.  But for TJ, well, it has always been a lifelong dream to ride a bus to school.  Now, think about it…how often do you get to witness the realization of a lifelong dream?  Rarely, if ever, I’d say.  For instance, I always wished to be a concert pianist.  On a good day, I can play a stirring rendition of “Heart and Soul.”  We’ll leave it at that.

But for kids, how cool is it to see something they’ve longed for repeatedly in their short lives come to fruition?  For Molly, I think it will be when she can actually say, “I’m 16 now” as opposed to “I wish I were 16.”  For TJ, it’s the bus.

Molly is ultimately too cool for school and often prefers to blow me a kiss instead of actual contact.  I mean, seriously…how embarrassing!

On the other hand, TJ cannot leave the house, the street or get near the bus without a full body tackle hug.  While the wonders of riding the bus are still new and exciting to him, he also faces it with a small amount of trepidation.  He may be in first grade, but he’s still 7.  He is a homebody and loves to do things with the family.  So when he gets on the bus, it’s bittersweet.  He’s heading away from home and mom (bitter), but he’s also riding the bus (sweet!). 

And every day, the last words out of his mouth are, “Wave to me, Mom!”

Let me tell you, to this mother’s heart, the reaction for me is also bittersweet.  I am happy they are heading to school, but I fear for them to be sad, lonely or afraid.  I stand there, waving madly like a fool (and I think secretly, Molly is glad I wave to her, too.  She just may never admit it), flapping my arms, blowing kisses and generally doing exactly what Molly fears:  embarrassing my children.  But hey, that’s what parents are for, right?

So when TJ says, “Wave to me, Mom!,” I must say, it is a beautiful thing.

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