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Last school bus ride…


April 20, 2016

The school bus stops outside my front door each morning at about 7:30 to pick up my daughter. She emerges from the warmth of the house, usually with her coat slung over her arm and sometimes walking on the heels of her sneakers, which are not quite on her feet. “I’ll tie them on the bus,” she tells me. “Right,” I say, remembering the great catch-up time for homework and hair braiding that was the bus ride to school each morning.

Last week, my son, a high school senior, who prefers to wake late and drive to school in his car, had to take the bus too, when the roads turned bad following the April snowstorm that brought a taste of winter to our area.

Sam was reduced to riding the bus since his car (a rust-bucket Toyota, still running by the grace of God) didn’t have snow tires. Considering the mild winter we have had, it has hardly mattered until April arrived with the first real snowfall of the year.

I couldn’t help wondering if that morning might be the last time he will ride the school bus to school. It is a strange feeling to recognize the series of finalities in his last couple months of school. Unknown milestones confront us all the time in our lives and the lives of our children. Who can recall the last time we carried the baby on our shoulders or the last bath time in the kitchen sink, the last “snow day” off from school or the last school bus ride…?

And I can’t help but remember the first day Sam rode the bus to school, sitting in the front seat with Seth Simmons. Off to town. Sam’s first day of school happened also to be the day that Lily, his sister, was born. I remember Trudy Trask, the long-time driver of the French Woods bus route, telling me, “Don’t wait too long” before leaving for the hospital to have the baby. It was a momentous day in the history of our family.