Independence

It is difficult to “let go” and yet, that is the very thing we must do to allow our children to be independent, functioning members of society. After the initial shock of leaving my children alone with a babysitter and finding out that they would survive, the next life changing event happened when I had to allow my first born to go off to school alone.

We registered for school and visited the classroom. We met the teacher and the principal. We found out what bus he was to ride and where to pick it up. We talked about what to expect and prepared in every way possible. We walked to the bus stop with him to be sure all went well. Then the day came when he felt confident to catch the bus alone. (This was in 1972, when the world was much safer—I would never allow this to happen in 2006.)

His Dad was home because he worked shift-work and this was a sleeping day and working night. I had appointments all day and was gone early. Brian confidently, independently, left to catch the bus. His Dad went to bed. It started to rain. About one hour later, Brian’s Dad woke with a start when he saw Brian standing beside the bed soaking wet with big tears running down his cheeks.

The bus had come and gone and Brian had been standing on the wrong side of the road. He was so small that the bus driver didn’t even see him. He waited for an hour in the rain thinking it would come back, but it never did and he had to go home wet and disappointed. His Dad listened to his story while he dried him off and then let Brian crawl into bed with him and rest in the comfort and secure feeling that it was okay and he was loved. No formal schooling that day, but one of the best lessons learned. He was loved.

The next year, Brian’s sister Tori started school and as they left for the bus at the beginning of the school year, I heard Brian tell Tori, “The most important thing you can learn is the number on your bus and what side of the road it stops on.” Then off they went hand-in-hand toward their independence. Celia started school two years later--no sweat.

JENNIFER'S FIRST DAY

I don't think
I was that good
of a Mom
even though
I tried real hard
and I loved you
with all my might.

The #8 picture
reminded me
of you
going to Kindergarten
that first day.

For some reason
your leaving
the home
hurt the most,
much more
than the others.
Somehow,
they seemed
ready.

You were so frail and tiny.
You put your hand on the window
and I put mine on yours
from the other side
and I left it there,
even walking
along the side of the bus
till I couldn't anymore.

Then you turned
and held on to the back
of the cracked
brown leather seat,
and caught me
in your view,
watching me
wave at you.

I cried
silent tears,
softly flowing
to my lips, my chin.

You did not wave,
just stared
keeping careful watch
with your big brown eyes
open wide with fear.

© Sharon Mack

Sharon is a contributor to the Banyan Tree to which I belong.

6 comments

Anonymous  

Thank you for sharing the story of Brian missing the bus. It was very sweet and sad and I actually cried a little.

When he gets back from Japan I'll give him an extra big hug.

Rochelle

Anonymous  

Hi Sandi, love the website, great story about Brian too, too cute..

Liz

Wow, that is really sad, but with a great lesson!

This is a very tender story, makes me want to hold onto every little minute I have with my little boy. It also makes me long for the days when sending your child to the bus stop wasn't something to worry about. This one was good Sandi.

Anonymous  

When our middle son was five and went to school the first day, we didn't have to pre plan it beause his older brother was at the same school. However, to show the love our middle son Michael had for his little brother (one and a half years old) was so special to him that on show and tell day the first week of school, Michael wanted to take his little brother to school for the event. My wife took the morning off from work and brought one and a half year old Christopher to school. Michael insisted that Mom stay in the hall while he showed off his little brother. That love has continued to this day and you can be sure that when Chris went to school the first day, his brother michael was proud and happy to show him the way. Lynn Rogerson

Oh I am not looking forward to the day I have to send Zack to school!!! Why can't they just stay our little guys forever? Sending them to kindergarten is just the first step. Next thing you know it will be a mission - which by the way I am not looking forward to and then they are gone. Loved your sweet story Sandi! Too cute!