Last Day of 2nd Grade
Today is the last day of 2nd grade.
In most places that may not be a milestone, but in our neighborhood, it's the end of an era. It's the end of the bus stop. My son will transfer to the upper elementary school next year and from third grade on, he'll be able to walk to school. No more buses.
On his first day of kindergarten, the idea of putting him on that yellow bus with all those "big" kids and a questionable looking driver who I easily imagined possessed all kinds of terrifying personality traits, was torturous. But this morning, as I waved goodbye to him (and Mr. Nate, the conscientious albeit foul mouthed, driver) for the last time, I was struck by how much the morning bus stop has come to mean to us. To me.
Fearful of minivans and Lululemon, I made the trek to the 'burbs despite myself. Elbow room beckoned. I kept picturing that montage scene from Father of the Bride when Steve Martin plays driveway basketball with his daughter, growing through the years, and I convinced myself that as long as we got a house with a basketball hoop, we'd be ok.
What I never considered was the impending camaraderie of the bus stop. I worried about the strip mall component of suburban life, but never saw the beauty of the bus stop coming.
Bleary eyed, and coffee cup'd, an eclectic mix of moms, dads and kids share two-four minutes every morning, no matter the snowfall. Two to four minutes may not seem like much, but if you add it up over the course of the year, it's about 10 hours.
That's plenty of time to wipe cream cheese off someone else's kid's face. There are enough minutes to hear about renovation woes, sick grandparents, karate trophies, triumphs at the office, gardening tips, failed recipes, forgetful tooth fairies, and rumored neighborhood scandal. It's enough time to squeeze in one more hug and kiss while he's still young enough to let me. It's enough time to wave at the once toothless, now toothy, smile as the bus pulls away. The bus stop is a magical place where tiny communities and friendships form all while we desperately try to get those stick-up-straight hairs to lay down on resistant heads.
It seems terribly unfair that the bus stop is already coming to an end. I finally have the timing down to a science (if shoes are tied by 8:06 we're golden). It's the end of an era I never knew about. And while I shall still silently curse languid school buses stopped in front of me in traffic, I will forever look at the driveway across the street as our beloved bus stop.