In the beginning of the school year the mom’s in my neighborhood would get their kids all slicked up with their hair combed, freshly bathed, new school clothes all crisp and pressed and walk out to stand at our bus stop.
Everyone seemed to have their brand new empty backpacks on and everyone would comment on each others new school stuff.
As the year went on the new clothes were not as pressed and the kids would toss that backpack on the ground and play while waiting for the bus. They made up games or played Frisbee, football, baseball, or soccer.
They slid on icy driveways, had snowball fights, stole back packs, dug gravel mountains with sneakers, saved the worms after the rainstorms, or watched woodpeckers.
Kids hid in the trees for hide and seek. They often compared clothes, teachers, homework assignments as mom’s talked about hand-me-downs or recipes. We sang Happy Birthday, practiced spelling tests, swatted yellow jackets with kitchen towels to keep them from stinging.
We shared Halloween costumes, brought snacks.
Parents cried as new kindergartners got ready to go.
We cried together over 911, holding on for dear life. Rejoiced over new pregnancies or babies, or kids graduating.
We discussed the news and weather.
We met grandparents and new nannies filling in for hard working mom’s who wanted to be there.
We invited other kids to join our bus stop group. And we always waved and blew kisses no matter how embarrassed our kids would get.
The yellow bus would screech to a stop, the stop sign would swing out, and there our children would climb up the steps, the folding doors would close and we stood watching, continuously waving until that puff of dark smoke dissolved in the air and the bus turned the corner. Then we all turned and walked in separate directions wishing each other another good day.
The bus stop has been a tiny capsule of childhood and life crammed into a 10 minute slot waiting for the yellow school bus.
A dear friend of mine stood at the bus stop as her sixth and last child got on the bus for kindergarten. Her neighbor commented that now she was free and could do anything she wanted because all of her children were gone to school. She asked my friend what she was planning to do now? Her response was “What I am planning to do is be right here at the bus stop when the bus drops her off after school.”
I used to think how nice it would be when the children would be old enough to go out to the bus alone and I could watch from the window all cozy in my PJ’s. Now, as I watch from my window, my new young neighbor stands outside at the bus stop with her one little boy. And tears well up in my eyes. What a blessed 10 minutes.
I wish I could be out at the bus stop once again…
Dedicated to My dear neighbors, Jack, Alisa, Michael, Sidney, Morgan, Tyler, Chris, Travis, Zachary, David, Nichole, Nicky, Peter, Alex, KiKi, Nick and Tessa and their parents who were all a part of our bus stop. Happy New School year once again where ever you are.