8:20. The kids are finally out the door and waiting for the bus (there are some GREAT advantages to having your driveway be the bus stop!) Lil’ is watching a movie and Jellybean is content for a minute (yes I changed his nick name. This one fits him better!). I head downstairs to pay some bills.
8:24. I hear the door slam shut and someone crying. I run upstairs to see what the problem is and if I can fix it QUICK because the bus should be here NOW. Buddy is standing there - without shoes – crying. I turn and see the bus pull up. I ask him quick what the problem is, but of course he just turns around on the couch and starts crying. The bus leaves without him.
At this point I’m just bugged. Why on earth did he come inside. And WHY ON EARTH did he take off his shoes? I don’t have time to drive him to school, I’ve got too much to do today. I finally get it out of him that he was cold and so he came inside. I don’t have a problem with that, but why the shoes? He thought he had enough time to change out of his shorts into long pants.
He goofed off all morning long. I told him that he would have had time if he wouldn’t have played so much before going to wait for the bus! VERY frustrated now, I told him to go change.
And I went downstairs to pay those bills (well, more to cool off than anything). I did NOT want to have load everyone up to drive him to school and then come home and get everyone dressed so I can do all my errands today. As I cooled down, I remembered the rule I made last school year – a rule I threatened with a lot but never had to use. If you miss the bus, you have to walk to school.
Buddy is now dressed. I go and talk to him about why he missed the bus. And then I asked him if he remembered the rule. “Yes. If I miss the bus I have to walk to school all by myself.” I told him something I never said last year – that he had added the “by myself” part. Jellybean was crying, so I had Buddy give him a bottle while I got Lil and myself in shoes and the stroller ready. I hoped that this encouraged Buddy to get ready faster next time, and at least I’d get a walk in this morning.
We had to keep up a pretty fast walk to try and make the one mile in the 14 minutes we now had. And as we walked, something amazing happened. Buddy started talking. He started telling me about his class, about his friends. He talked about his teacher, about what he liked, about what he wanted to do later. And I realized this burden, this stress in my day, was not a trial at all. It was the best conversation I’ve ever had with my 6 year old. Listening to him articulate his hopes and fears helped me to know him in a way I’ve never been able to do before.
Finding the joy in this day made all the difference in the world. I’m very ok with what happened now. And if he misses the bus again, I know it might be the best thing for our relationship that could happen.
I’m even thinking of picking him up from school for that walk next time.