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Or Yellow #19 if your parents get confused. This Parents of the Year story brought to you by misty Seattle rain and sheer confusion.

Today is the first day of school. The kids would be taking a yellow school bus for the very first time. After years of spending my mornings driving kids to school I was pretty excited about the prospect of real buses.

When we looked at our house on a map we thought the elementary school was about a mile away. It is. The way the crow flies. It’s significantly farther than that to walk or even to drive. It’s a ten minute walk just to the bus stop. Many parents complain about that but I don’t care. We finally have the ability to walk somewhere. I’ll take it.

I have been telling the boys that I wouldn’t walk with them to the bus stop. They’re in middle school and could handle it. I didn’t want them to be the only kids whose mommy dropped them off at the bus stop. Last night Heath suggested we make it a family affair. So this morning we quickly snapped a few pictures before making the long trek up our street and down the next to the main road bus stop.

img_0450Gavin is none too thrilled about this whole school thing. I think he’s only going because he can start Cross Country soon. By the way, the high for today is 61 with misty rain forecasted. I did tell Gavin he could wear shorts until October. Then he will have to stop being a Californian and wear jeans already.

img_0454Parker is nervous to start middle school. Luckily all the 6th graders will feel the same way. It won’t matter that this is a new school to Parker. It’s new to all the 6th graders and they will all be lost together. His Primary class all promised to sit together at lunch today. I thought that was a great idea.

img_0447This one was so excited for school to start she was up at 5:00 this morning! Several hours before school even starts. That’s my Gwen.

The boys timed their walk to the bus stop yesterday so we would know exactly when to leave the house and when to wake up. It is an eight minute walk. I told them to plan on ten minutes. We were also getting to the bus stop as early as the transportation lady on the phone suggested.

Gwen and I stopped for a minute for some reason. The boys went on ahead. As we neared the main road there was a big gap in our family. Not a big deal. Until I heard a loud noise. A bus noise. Heath and the boys started running. A group of parents were standing on the opposite side of the street. I was so confused. I did not think the bus stop was across the street!

I was actually kind of annoyed to realize the bus stop was across the street because even though it’s a two lane road, it’s very busy. This is not a road I want my kids walking on until the city has finished the proposed plan to expand it to include a suicide left turn lane and sidewalks lining both sides. Yet there were many parents standing on the other side of the street. Heath and my boys darted across the busy street. My boys ran at an angle to get to the waiting bus faster. What was happening?

Gwen and I were stopped several yards from the end of the street in stunned silence. All I could think was how unhappy I was that my kids were supposed to cross that street to catch a bus and that the bus had arrived nearly ten minutes early! A man in a gray truck asked me if that was the middle school bus. I confirmed that it was. He sat there quietly as if he couldn’t decide to solve the problem or wonder how he could have missed a bus that arrived so early. Eventually he turned left to drive his kid to school. What else can you do when you miss the bus?

Heath came across the street as I was talking to a mom on my side. The mom was telling me that there are two buses. One for the neighborhoods on each side of the road. My boys got on the wrong bus. Heath told me it was Bus #19. My boys were assigned Bus #5. Yellow #5 just like the lyrics in the Soul Coughing song. And they were on the wrong bus. Where were they going? Luckily they were on a middle school bus.

When Yellow #5 arrived, on time, Heath told the driver that a couple kids got on the wrong bus. She said no one is supposed to cross the street because there isn’t a crossing guard. We will get it figured out by tomorrow. I texted Gavin but he never responded. I’m not sure he even has his phone with him! He accidently left his graphing calculator at home on his desk. I think I will pick up the boys this afternoon and walk them to the correct stop in the morning. Take two right?

img_0455

My Little Miss had no bus mishaps. We managed to walk her to correct stop. The bus was a few minutes late. The other kids and parents at that stop said the bus is usually late. This picture was taken at the top of our street next to the playground. I wanted to get a good picture of the fantastic embroidery work Grandma did on her backpack. We learned that the kid across the street is also in third grade. His family moved in March so he’s used to walking to the bus stop. His parents didn’t even join him.

It’s the first day of school and I am nervous for my kids. I have always walked them onto the school playground to find their lines. Then I walk into class with my youngest student. I guess I did throw Gavin to the wolves when he started middle school. He got on the city bus that came by our circle to get to school. Now they all do that. It’s strange to say, “Here’s your bus. Good luck with school!” That’s it. They walk on the bus and out of my control.

Get onto the bus
that’s going to take you back to Beelzebub.
Yellow number five yellow number five.
Voulez-vous the bus?

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