First Lesson of the School Year

Ah, back-to-school time.

This year marked a milestone for us—the youngest started kindergarten. And not the old-fashioned, yippy-skippy half-day variety, either. I’m talking full-day, riding-the-bus kindergarten.

So when the big morning came, I hurried the kids down to the bus stop with my camera in hand. No way was I missing the Kodak moment of my baby’s first climb onto the big yellow bus. As we waited for it to arrive, Ry pranced along the curb line in eager anticipation. His older brother—a big 4th grader now—repeatedly warned him to stay back or he’d get in trouble by the bus driver. I chimed in as well, much more concerned about the danger of on-coming traffic than any lecture from a bus driver.

Silly me.

When the bus finally arrived, Ryan stood at attention, poised to spring up the steps. I smiled down at him like any proud mama would, and crossed my fingers that he would remember to turn back around and give me a smile before disappearing into the depths of the big yellow bird. When the doors opened and the driver smiled, I gave Ryan a little pat on the back for good luck—trust me, I’d already smothered him in his fair share of hugs and kisses—and he began his climb up the big black steps.

But apparently we were both a little over eager, and neither one of us had put enough weight on my older son’s warning about potential lectures. The bus driver firmly but politely instructed Ryan to get back off the bus, then asked Jake to go over ‘the rules’ with his little brother. Jake nodded, then proceeded to inform both his brother and I that kids can’t get on the bus until the driver gives them a thumb’s up. It’s her way of letting them know her eyes are done scanning the road and that she’s focused on them. A simple enough request for riders patient enough to wait and listen.

Yeah, okay, so I fail. Patience isn’t exactly my strong suit.

But I did get my picture. Two, actually—one at the wrong time and one after the driver gave her ‘all clear’ signal. Thankfully, Ryan was too excited about his first bus ride to let a gentle scolding dampen his spirits any.

And so I was handed my first, impromptu lesson of the school year. The bus stop debacle was a subtle reminder that when the doors of life slide open before you, we shouldn’t assume it’s time to dash right on through. Patience is a virtue, and, as my mother-in-law likes to say, a virtue is a good thing. It might even help shield you from an unnecessary scolding or two.

And besides, we all know what it means when you assume things.


Yep. Except yesterday, those first three letters were all on me.


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