Friday was a first not only for Mira, but for me. Because of our school’s late start for kindergarten, Mira had to wait two days after Cordy to begin the school year. But then the morning came, and she anxiously waited for the bus with her backpack on her shoulders.
Right next to her sister.
It was the first time I was sending both of them off on the same bus, to the same school. I may have a shed a tear. Of happiness.
For once, I didn’t have to keep track of two kids and schedules at three different schools. (Mira did a half day of preschool at a private preschool, then a half day at our local school district last year.) I didn’t have to wait for two bus drop-offs. I didn’t have to schedule parent-teacher conferences at different schools across the city. Logistically, it’s a dream come true.
Mira’s first day started a little rough, though. I let them both ride the bus that morning, even though I had to be there for kindergarten orientation. When I walked into the school, right at the end of breakfast, I saw Mira standing in the middle of the cafeteria with a group of teachers and aides around her. She was crying and they were wiping something off of her. A teacher quickly told me it was orange juice, and it had sprayed all over her dress and shoes.
Nearby, Cordy was yelling at another girl, “How DARE you spill juice on my little sister on her first day! You’re awful!” Cordy was completely incensed, to the point of making the (older) girl cry. I tried to calm Cordy down, assuring her it was an accident and apologizing to the other girl for Cordy yelling at her. Seeing Cordy stand up for Mira was not something I expected for Mira’s first day.
After meeting with the kindergarten teacher, I went outside to say goodbye to Mira on the playground. She was near tears again, frustrated that a group of boys could jump up and grab a bar on the playground equipment but she couldn’t quite reach. I gave her a hug, encouraged her to make friends instead of get frustrated, and then left, hoping she’d keep it together for the day.
The only big problem with Mira’s first day was the afternoon bus. The bus was scheduled to drop them off at 4:30pm. It’s an hour ride, which is long, but tolerable when they go to school on the other side of the city.
Cordy’s first day, the bus didn’t drop her off until after 5:30pm. The driver assured us it was just a first day issue, and they’d be closer to schedule the next day. On Thursday, the bus dropped her off at 5:20pm, with the driver saying, “We’re getting better!” It didn’t feel better, honestly. But I hoped they would get it right on the third day.
The bus dropped the girls off at 5:10pm, forty minutes after the scheduled time. Way too long, in my opinion. It wasn’t a good situation and I wanted an alternative.
And then common sense hit me: hey, I have both kids at one school! I don’t have to let them ride a long time because I’m waiting on another bus that will get here sooner, like I did last year!
So on Monday, I made the choice to pick them up from school. It’s a little inconvenient for me, but one hour out of my day so that my daughters only spend 25 minutes traveling home from school seems worth it. And it was kinda fun: waiting with the other parents by the bike rack and seeing kids faces light up when they come out of the building and see their parents.
Tuesday, I decided to give the bus one more try, only because Mira asked to try it again. And I waited. And waited. And waited. They got here at 5:13pm. Crazy.
I’m incredibly thankful that my kids are at the same school now, and thankful for a job that gives me the flexibility to go pick them up each day so that they don’t endure an hour and a half or longer bus ride home.
I’m also so very happy that both kids are loving school, and even seem to be getting along when together at school. I’ve been told they spend their recess time playing together, which is funny when you consider at home it’s one constant battle of “leave me alone!”
While we’ve had a few tiny bumps in the road so far, I’m expecting a fantastic school year. And now I shall happily fall back into a school year routine and forget the chaos of the previous three weeks.