"Why Does It Take Your Kid So Long to Get on the Bus?"
It's 6:45 AM on any given school day. We're standing in our driveway, my boy in my arms as always, a Thomas backpack slung over his diminutive shoulders. He's staring at his timer with the weight of the world and its worries far from his consciousness.
He hears it coming down the street. I see his hands begin to flutter as his lips struggle to release the word on the tip of his tongue. "B-b-b-b-us! Bus!" he says with the enthusiasm that can only be unleashed in the form of a very young child. I take the timer from his hands and place it on the trunk of my car just inside the garage. I put him on the ground and take his lunchbox -- a matching Thomas number -- in one hand and my baby's small hand in the other. We walk that walk to the end of the driveway to meet the bus and the inevitable heartache I feel each day seeing my 3-year old's tiny head just above a school bus window, far too young to be in the world of the "big kids."
I heave my boy's tiny frame up each step -- stairs designed not for children as small as he. I hand-over-hand hold his hand fixed to the railing to keep him balanced. His bus driver waits at the top to guide him back towards his seat and strap him in. I wait and watch, looking at my baby as he leaves the safety of my grasp for the bus each morning.
That's when I see it: The cars whip around the side of the bus. There is a STOP sign there. Our neighborhood also forms a giant loop and -- with us living towards the very back; they could just as easily go one way as the other. Instead of turning around, they whip around the school bus like it is no big deal. Like waiting a few minutes for my boy to get on the bus and get buckled into his seat is more than they can bear.
Now, Jack isn't on a lift bus, which tends to alert people more to the fact that they are seeing a special needs bus, so I don't expect people to just infer it. However, this isn't a special needs thing. It's a matter of decency. You don't run a stop sign at a school bus stop. It's dark outside and how do they know that there isn't a child running from across the street to get on the bus?
Normally, that's the extent of it -- people swerving around the bus, too impatient to wait for my boy to get secured in his seat -- but then came the day where someone rolled down their window. She poked her head out, obviously annoyed at the wait, and asked why it took so long every morning for the bus to get going after stopping at my house.