The First Day of School/Parenting

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

In the craziness of the first day of school, sometimes it's the parents who overlook some very important things.

For the last five years I've looked forward to the first day of school.  The pictures, the kisses, the pride; all contribute to making me turn to jelly when that school bus pulls away with my girls on it. 

This year it didn't go quite to plan.  Oh, the kids were prepared, don't get me wrong.  Their mother made sure the back-to-school shopping was complete and the backpacks were packed and lunches ready to go.  I had the easy part of just getting up and making sure they got to school.


I sprung out of bed no problem and the kids even got up quickly too.  AJ, my 7-year old, who usually requires a team of mules to get her out of bed, sprung from under the covers when I simply whispered in her ear that "it's time for school."  We had some breakfast and clothing speed bumps, but nothing serious or unusual so far.  It took me two tries to put AJ's hair in a ponytail, but that's about how many tries it takes me.

Then the dog got loose.

Didn't need the dog to go charging out to the bus stop when the garage door opened, but there he went.  He ended up in the neighbor's yard sniffing away with the neighbor's dog.  I walked over and leashed him up.

Problem solved.

Problem not solved.

The girls were fully aware of the early bus arrival time this year.  In years past, it came around 8:15, but this year it is supposed to come at 8:03.  At 7:55 everybody was at the bus stop ready to go, taking pictures, saying goodbye.  At precisely 8:03, here came the bus around the corner.  My 5th grader and three of her classmates excitedly hopped on the bus realizing they were the first ones on this year.  "We can sit in the back!" 

But someone also said something strange.  "The first day and we have a sub?"  She was referring to a different bus driver.  Oh well, the rest of us parents thought.

Then here came Sammy from down the block.  Hustling to make the bus, we made sure the driver stayed put.  Sammy's sitter noted she thought the bus was early.  "That wasn't the time I was told."  Hmmm. 

I stayed and chatted with three other parents for about 10 minutes and then we decided we all needed more coffee and I was going to walk this dog.  About 20 steps into the walk, I turned to see another bus coming around the corner.  It stopped at the bus stop and I could see it was the normal driver.  I knew what happened before the other parents yelled it out.

"They got on the wrong bus!"

These are the times when I ask many questions but never the one that needs to be asked.  What bus did they get on?  Why are you here at 8:15 when it was supposed to be 8:03?  Why didn't the other driver know what was going on?  Where are my kids at???

What I should have been asking is how do we fix this?  The kids were apparently on the Catholic School bus.  Nothing against St. Joe and its students but East Olive beat their math scores last year.  Our driver was able to contact the other driver and before we could ask "what kind of parents are we?" she told us she'd be picking them up in town in a few minutes. 


Can't wait to see what happens on Day 2.

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