This summer, Jack asked us if he could ride the bus to his early intervention preschool in the fall. After consulting with his team of therapists and the staff at his school, we decided it would be a good choice for him to give it a try this year.
As we waited outside for the bus to arrive on Monday, Jack ran laps in our yard, pointed out every form of public transportation that drove by, and said “Is that the school bus?” followed shortly by, “Nope! Not yet!” He was so excited!
When his pick up time came and went, I started getting fidgety. Had they forgotten my Jack? Just as I was picking up my phone to call and make sure he was still on the roster, the bus arrived!
Jack’s smiling face radiated pure delight as the doors opened and the driver welcomed him aboard. Taking his hand in mine, I walked with him to the seat of his choice. Jack looked around at the boys and girls sitting up front and decided to sit in a quieter place toward the back. What amazed me was that our 3-year-old son was able to discern that his level of excitement required him to find a quiet place to regulate his sensory system and process everything going on around him. I don’t know many 3-year-olds who could do that. In fact, I don’t think I know any! Fighting back tears, I buckled him in, kissed his sweet face, and told him to have oodles of fun.
When I returned to the pavement, Jack’s beautiful blue eyes found mine. I waved and he waved back. Just as the bus began to drive down our hill, he smiled and said “Bye Mommy!” through the glass. And off he went. I swallowed the lump in my throat and walked back to our house.
As I was driving to Jack’s school to pick him up that afternoon, my mind began racing with questions: “How had his first day gone? Was the bus a positive experience? Or was it too much too soon? Was school fun? Or was it exhausting?” When I got out of the car to pick him up, I took a deep breath and waited for the verdict.
With a huge, bright smile, Jack bounded out of his classroom into my arms and said, “Mommy! The bus was good! More children came on the bus. I wanted to go to the train station, but the children said we sit on the bus and the bus goes to school! School was good!”
I exhaled, smiled, and tried not to cry – again.
Though challenges meet our sweet boy at every turn, his dedication and desire to overcome those challenges gives us such hope. Seeing his beautiful blue eyes and hearing his sweet voice explaining his day gives us the determination to never lose that hope.
“For I know the plans I have for you’ says the Lord, ‘plans to give you a future full of hope!” (Jer 29:11)