The School Bus

On the back of my van there is a sticker that says "Homeschool Bus." I purchased it at a state curriculum fair and I put it on my van immediately. Our van, a green, 15 passenger Ford Econoline Van, is a bus, might as well tell the world what kind of bus. Of course we have had comments on the bumper sticker, but most of the comments come from my own inner thoughts as I drive through my home town.

I leave the home rather early to make it to therapy appointments for injuries sustained in an auto accident. No, I wasn't in my van, I was in my husband's little sports car. On the corner of my street is a school bus stop. As I drive by in the darkness of the morning around 7, I can't help but think about my children still tucked in bed, snoring away unaware that their friends are standing in the pouring rain waiting for the school bus.

I wonder about those heavy back backs that none of the youth can carry properly because that wouldn't be cool or they are just plain too heavy. I wonder about how those children can stand in the cold rain waiting for the bus without a coat. I know their parents aren't that poor. I wonder about those who have the speakers suck in their ears from their IPods. Do they hear their classmate's "good morning"? Of course not since all of them have some sort of ear paraphernalia and are too tired to speak.

I continue my drive to the downtown area and I follow this bus, stopping at all the corners, picking up more students as it slowly creeps along. I keep kicking myself for not leaving 30 seconds earlier so I can be on the other side of the bus instead of stopping every block for the yellow, then red lights.

I watch the bus drive by the lower income apartments that aren't too far from my home. I think what a great thing public school is for these kids whose parents work to provide them with the basics. These children aren't much different than those standing at my corner. Some of them don't have coats, but I don't wonder if it is because they can't afford them or they too choose not to wear them. I see things dangling from their ears. I see eyes looking at the ground just like those that got on earlier avoiding eye contact with the other kids on the bus.

As the bus finally turns the corner to go up "Educational Hill" I continue to think of those children with those heavy back packs slung over their shoulders. What are they going to learn today? What are they going to go home too? What are they going to learn in class today? Do their teachers care for them? Do those children know how lucky they are to have an education?

My thoughts turn back to my own children? What are we going to learn today? Did I prepare my lessons thoughtfully? Do I care for them? Do my children know how lucky they are to have an education? As I return home and start the day these thoughts still linger with me.

In the afternoon, as my children are playing we watch the school bus go by in the opposite direction, headlights on as it is after 4:00 and very dark. How luck are my children to be done with school, no homework, no reports to go research, nothing to do but have fun, learn and be part of a family. It sure makes our evenings less hectic.

I'm still thinking about that school bus, the one sitting in my driveway with over 100,000 miles on it that has taken my children to places no other school bus could take them. We've been to Grandma's house, Disneyland, Zion National Park, we've followed the Lewis and Clark trail (link here), we gone to Canada, the Red Wood forest, Temple Square, the beach, the ocean, Deception Pass, Whidbey Island, Fort Nisqually, the Puget Sound, Fort Casey and more places we can't even remember. It has also taken us to places that are closer to home and I guess the yellow school bus could take the public school kids there, but we prefer our little school bus to take us to the library, the park, the store, the movies, the aquarium, the zoo, the museum and basically through life.

Where has your "school bus" gone lately?