(I blogged this 2 years ago and it was a little weird to see a prompt with the exact same title. For a second there I couldn’t find it in my archives and I thought, ‘They’ve deleted my article and stolen the title!!’ And then I found it.)
My son James catches his kindergarten bus at 12:18pm. He and I kick rocks and philosophize while we wait at the stop. We have special mother-son moments that I’ll relish for life. We sit there quietly and hold hands, or tell stories, or dissect bugs. I teach him the names of flowers and tell him what little boys in Africa do. He tells me a million facts about soldiers and the army. I eat up every minute, all too cognizant that my baby has flown the coop.
Some days he rudely awakens me from my maternal trance and asks me to wait in the house while he catches the bus.
One sunny afternoon around 12:16 while we waited for the bus, he frantically needed to use the bathroom. We tore into the house as he fumbled with his belt. I realized we had forgotten his library book so I dashed into the kitchen, grabbed it from counter, and rushed to the bathroom to put it in his backpack. In the deep recesses of my mind, I heard the rumble of the old bus coming down the hill.
I stood aghast in the bathroom and things started to move in slow motion. So many questions flooded my mind: How on earth could so much fluid sit on the toilet-seat in a matter of seconds? How could there be gallons more on the floor? I was swirling in a urine tsunami, powerless, disoriented, confused.
He has two simple instructions to follow before he pees, and three after. We all know them. They are listed here in their irreducible complexity:
1. Lift up the seat.
2. Aim into the toilet.
1. Put down the seat.
3. Wash your hands.
My final question was ‘where is he?’
I staggered to the front door like a drunken sailor, just in time to see him nonchalantly hopping onto the bus. He gave Driver Dan his daily high-five, looked back over his little shoulder, and smiled at me.
I exploded through the front door screaming “Get back in here!” Dan took one look at my face, assessed the imminent doom, hastily shut the bus door, and peeled off. He was taking corners on side wheels and was a block away before he remembered to retract the stop sign. I was chasing them down the road, occasionally leaping into the air and waving my fists wildly. I don’t remember what I was yelling. If I had warned my boys once, I had warned them a million times.
Eventually I stopped. Hopeless, I walked back spent and ragged. I was mumbling and probably drooling. I dragged my heavy, sodden feet with fistfuls of my own hair and a lousy library book in my hands. One neighbor cursorily shut her blinds. Another hurried into his house and double-bolted his door.
Could Dan be an accomplice to this crime? I suppose, after all his years as a bus driver, he has a capacity to read premeditation on the face of a determined mother and was actually saving me from life in prison.
Thank you Driver Dan.