Monday, September 20, 2010

The Wheels on the Bus

What a happy song! What a happy time when I sang this song over and over again with my little girls as they made up their own things that could happen on a bus "all through the town"!

But, as I think about the possibility of my oldest child riding the bus to high school next year, I cringe.

I think about my own experience on the bus in a younger, safer era, like the '70s ... um ... OK, so maybe it really wasn't that "safe" of an era when you think about it, but let's move on.

I don't remember there ever being an option not to ride the bus when I was younger. Private schools were few and far between and I was the only child of one hard-working single mom.

I still drive by the apartments we lived in and see the very spot in front of the row of mailboxes where I stood each morning in my Jordache-like jeans to get on that bus. I have fairly good memories of that bus. Really not many memories, except for the Journey songs that played over the speakers, so I guess that's a good thing.

What I do remember is how responsible I was at such a young age. In 2nd grade, I would be dropped off at that same spot in the afternoon, let myself into our apartment, fix myself cheese & peanut butter on saltines, do my homework, and watch Scooby Doo until my mom soon arrived home from work. She was a nurse and worked the 7-3 shift. Perfect hours so that she could be home with her daughter.

Then, as I got older (the '80s), the bus ride experiences just got worse. Junior high ... ugh. There was so much teasing, not so much with me, but with everyone. There were definite bullies who always seemed to sit at the back of the bus. Wonder why?

That poor bus driver. How was he supposed to know what was going on? And, that's what I think about for today. How can one person, driving a bus, monitor that many kids? They just can't. There's no way.

It always seemed like bad things went on on the bus. Even from me. I would sneak make-up onto the bus to wear to school because my mom wouldn't let me wear it. Yeah, a little rebellious, wouldn't you say? I got it good one day when she surprised me and picked me up early from school and I had make-up all over my face. I was dumb.

In 8th grade, I transferred to a private school that offered bus service. We lived quite a distance from the school, so it was extremely convenient.

I can remember lots of trouble to be gotten into on that bus too. In fact, I think, at that time, I was one of the ones sitting in the back of the bus. I didn't get into any trouble. But, low and behold, that was the one bus ride where one of the boys in the back mooned passers-by, sticking his naked booty out of the window. This was a Christian school, mind you. Some of the worst things happen at Christian schools. I'm here to testify to that.

If that kind of stuff goes on on a bus filled with little Christians, who's to say what can go on on a bus filled with little non-Christians? I just keep thinking about this video:

My dilemma is this: Wake up at the crack of dawn (because high school starts at 7:10 a.m., and lets out at 2:10 p.m.) and try to get K Belle to school on time. I'm not a fan of this idea.
Let go of my death grip and let her ride the bus like most kids.

Still thinking. I definitely have time to think, seeing as this is like a year away. But, you know, Mama has to get her ducks in a row. Come on, my Louisiana peeps with kids who ride the bus, give me a shout-out.

Did you ride the bus?


Sara said...

I dind't watch the video. Sorry, I got kiddos on the bus and that would send me right to the loony bin! We are dealing with bus stop issues. What Rob and I consider SAFE for our kids and what the district is telling us...argh. I rode the bus and I was a good too shoes, I sat right behind the driver. I had a lady, her name was Rose. She was so nice, except when kids got out of hand, then she would stop the bus and just sit there. I stopped riding the bus in 10th grade. I had older friends that drove. I am SO not ready to deal with this...What does K-belle think? Does she want to ride the bus? My daughter won't even let me walk her to the stop. (our drive way) My son on the other hand needs supervision at all times! Oh Mama Belle, I feel for you here.

Natalie Meyers said...

I do not have kids that ride the bus yet, butI do think that most Lafayette Parish school buses now have an assistant bus driver. So you have the driver driving and the assistant managing the kiddos - Now I am sure the typical bus stuff happens but I think they have cracked down on this. Check into it - it may ease your mind -

phoebe said...

I attended public school my entire school career. I always rode the bus. I too was a latch key kid. I made it just the same as you. I know the times are diffent, but our school system has taken measures to ensure our kids saftey. I am not normally a big promoter of Lafayette Parish School Board, but in this I am. You see my mom is a school bus attendent. Her job is to monitor the bus. While the dirver drives she patrols up and down the ilse and makes sure that all is ok, she even helps the younger kids get off at the correct stop. Now, while I know not all buses have attendents, some do and as a parent you can even request that your bus driver get one. If you have worries...there you go! Just remember they are thougher than we think and K Belle has a firm stand in her faith and knows her boundries, she will do just fine. Just wait til she can drive to school???!!!!!

Lovin on your and prayin for you!

Mama to da Drama said...

So weird that you posted this bc I had a dream last night that I was riding the bus with my mom and she made an ugly comment and a whole group of people on the bus wanted to jump her -- someone even pulled out a knife.

okay, now that I've probably scared you to death....

...anyway, I did ride the bus -- public school system in Evangeline, St. Martin and Lafayette Parish.

I don't think you can get in more trouble on a bus than you can at school.

Jill @ Live Laugh Blog said...

I never rode the bus. One of my parents or a neighbor's parent would take to and from school. I only rode it maybe 5 times when going home with a friend who rode the bus.
My niece is in middle school and she just started riding the bus this year. She says she doesn't mind, and she gets home sooner than if I went to pick her up from school - but I still worry about her.
But maybe that's because I'm a control freak.
We live across the street from our future elementary school. So I'll either be walking or driving the girls to and from school. There isn't a private school here that has a bus system, so most moms drive to school.
While I'm not a fan of 7am, I can't imagine letting my girls ride the bus. But, they are only 5 & 3 - so who knows how I'll feel 10 years from now!

Rachelle said...

Yes, I rode the bus. I think I may be to much of a control freak to let my kids ride the bus...

sara said...

I rode the bus my whole school career. My kids had to ride the bus b/c at times I had all three going to different schools. However, they only rode when they HAD to. If I had an option for them to ride with someone..I did. Honestly, they were exposed to more on the bus than in school and had some of their most difficult times on the bus. Looking back now as an almost empty nester...I wish I had kept them off the bus.

{Jodie} said...

I rode the bus, and I hated it. I don't know that I could ever let my kids take the bus unless I absolutely had no other choice - and it would be with much fear and trembling. I have to say that the troubles I ran into on the bus were different than what I encountered at school. There is too much that cannot be seen. I felt unsafe and vulnerable many times on the bus. This is just my opinion, but I don't think I could put my kids on a bus -- strictly based on my own experience.

And also my control issues... :)

The Hat Chick said...

Both my peeps ride the bus and always have. They both like it because it is the only social time they have with their friends.

As a kid, I remember when some teenage boys got in a fight on the high school bus I rode. The bus driver, Mr. Willis, stopped the bus, stood up and put the beat down on both of them, threw them off the bus where we were stopped, and told them he was going by their houses and talk to their mamas (I grew up in Mississippi, so that was a terrible threat....I remember them yelling, "We'll walk home! Don't tell mama!") No one fought on the bus after that! Lesson learned. If that happened these days, Mr. Willis would have been fired. Back then, he was a hero.

So, I let my peeps ride the bus because there are lots of life lessons on the bus. As long as they don't get hurt, it's part of growing up that I can't teach them.

Plus, say a prayer....God will protect her.