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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  • by mitsol Location: nodia on Dec 30, 2010 at 08:45 PM
    I slowly walked forward as I started looking at all the other kids, most were in groups and all talking laughing and smiling. I felt very small, like I was an alien who had just landed on planet Earth. I thought to myself, 'I should be at home, with my friends talking and laughing'. But I wasn't, I was in Rocklin, California. Id moved here at the begging of August. And I'd hated it ever since. But I was willing to give Rocklin a shot, even though ever kid I'd met in town so far had said 'Rocklin is the worst school'. As I walked forward with the white scrunched up piece of paper that told me my classes, I tried to look like I fit in. As I looked around for my class, I noticed I was on the wrong side of the building. 'At least I know where the main building is,' I said to myself. The main building looked bright and cheery, like the sun.
  • by Bank Savings Account Interest Rates Location: us on Nov 9, 2010 at 02:30 AM
    Hi this is Sophie It is great that you thought to write this and alert others not to make that same stupid mistake which can lead u to such an embarrasing situation in front of your kidz. thanks Bank Savings Account Interest Rates
  • by Laura Location: Lansing, MI on Sep 8, 2010 at 09:05 PM
    Lansing kids are supposed to have their bus cards with them. Luckily, we have the same terrific bus driver as last year!
  • by Sheri Location: St. Johns (your neighbor) on Sep 7, 2010 at 04:52 PM
    Jason, Andrew told me that they picked up another kid and the bus driver said, "So, you are going to Oakview?" At that time, Andrew spoke up and said, "We are going to East Olive." And, that is how the driver knew he had the wrong kids. Too funny:)
  • by Bill Location: Ovid on Sep 7, 2010 at 02:11 PM
    Ovid Elsie came up with this elementary school consolidation idea in the spring. We have since gotten the run around about bussing and have contacted the school and called the bus garage dozens of times and no one will return a call !!! My wife had to take my six month old daughter out of the house to give my son a ride to school. After talking to the office we were told the bus driver would call which they did not. Now it's going to be the second day of school and we still don't know what bus my son rides, or where and when he needs to meet the bus !!!! Is this what our hard earned tax dollars goes toward paying for? Are they going to pay our gas back for running him to school because they don't feel like doing their jobs?
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