My son is in third grade and rides the bus to school every day. At the beginning of every school year, I have nightmares about him getting lost in the shuffle or being left on the bus. Or being in a situation that he and I cannot control.
Each of these scenarios has the possibility of really bad things happening. I feel this undue burden of being the only person he can count on in these moments. The older he gets, the more I realize this is my issue and not his. Sure, he needs assistance, but his personality and who he is as an individual make folks care about him and watch out for him. Somehow, without any help from me, my son has developed his community of folks who watch out for him and who he watches out for in return.
The relationship my son has with his bus driver is beyond compare. They love each other. Every morning at 6 a.m., we walk out to the front of our driveway. And my son lights up when he sees the bus pull up.
Our beloved driver walks out, and she and my son have a wonderful moment where they greet each other and then go off to school. At the end of the day, I go grab him from the bus and hear all about his day.
There’s often pressure on us as parents to be everything to our children, especially when we perceive that our children have some sort of limitation. Our kids are stronger and more capable than we give them credit for being. Often, we just need to step back and trust them and give them roots and confidence to create the experiences they deserve to have. I’ve realized that my desire to protect my son often limits his capacity for growth. Something I remind myself not to do daily.
When those lights come over the hill, and my son sees that bus coming, much like any 9-year-old, he’s done with me. He doesn’t want his nerdy dad to embarrass him because he’s off to rock his school day with the support of his village of beloved allies.
No matter how small or large, victories matter and it’s so helpful to celebrate with people who understand. Find ways to connect with other parents.