The school year is upon us! Another summer is winding to a close...whew! This is a big year for us. Megan started first grade (although sometimes she acts like she is going off to college). Day 1 of school started off smoothly. I walked her to the bus stop. I gave her a kiss and hug, told her to have a great first day at school , and that I would be waiting for her when she got off the bus in the afternoon. To which she said, "Mom, can't you just let me walk home from the bus stop by myself!!!" Ummm...let me think about that for a moment...NO!!!! (she's 6, not 16!)
Anyway- fast forward to 2:30 in the afternoon. I head over to the bus stop to pick her up. I'm excited to see how her first day went and hear all about her teacher. The bus pulls up and the children looking tired but still somewhat energetic pile off the bus. All the children except for mine that is! I say to the bus driver, "Uh, is that it? My daughter didn't get off the bus." And I'm still trying to give the lady the benefit of the doubt that she must not have heard what I just said because she actually replied, "Ok, have a good day!". She then waved at me and shut the door.
So now I am in full on panic mode but trying not to completely freak out in front of the neighbor children who keep asking me, "Where is Megan?" Yeah, I'd love to know the answer to that question myself. At this point, my neighbor rounds the corner and surveys the situation. She sees me walking her children back to our cul-de-sac without my own child in tow. I say to her in my 'Oh- my-God-I-am-panicking-but-don't-want-to-appear-as-if-I-am-panicking' voice "Megan didn't get off the bus!". "What? Where is she?" asked my neighbor. Now, at this point, I've asked myself that question and have 2 possible thoughts about what could possibly be the answer.
Option 1- This is what I am calling the "best case scenario"- Small, scared (and too scared to actually say anything to anyone) 6-year-old child got on the wrong bus and is riding all over our suburb on said wrong bus, going past various bus stops that look unfamiliar and will forever be scarred by this moment.
Option 2- Or "worst case scenario"- Well... I can't even bring myself to write a detailed description of this. Let's just suffice to say it involves no bus, a creepy looking dude asking Megan if she'd like some candy, and ends up scarring ME forever.
It is at this point that I spring into action. I ask my neighbor to run up to the school and see if she sees Megan. I have my cell phone so I'm already on the phone with the school transportation person who is radioing all the busses to see if they have a freaked out girl on their bus (which none did!). I went back to our house just in case she made it back to our house somehow.
And then finally...
My neighbor called from the school and said she found Megan. Even though I had the tag on Megan's backpack (as per her teacher's instructions) to put her on the school bus, they apparently received a list from the daycare place (where she goes after school when I am out of town traveling for work) that said Megan was able to be transported by them so her teacher put her on the daycare bus.
Needless to say, when my neighbor pulled up with Megan in the car, I completely fell apart- bawling like a big baby... Although the time frame was only about 20 minutes, it seemed like forever. In my heart I knew there must have been a logical explanation for what happened but there is that small part of you that keeps asking yourself, "Am I going to be the one? The one whose child doesn't come home. The one who wonders for years why her last words to her child had to be 'have a good day at school'. "
Anyway, all is okay now although I probably should have thought of Option #3 which looked like this...
Small 6-year-old child has minor mix up with bus at school which doesn't even phase her. However, child is permanently scarred for life when neighbor drops her off at her home to Sobbing Mother. Small child is freaked out by the erratic behavior of Sobbing Mother and avoids mother in the house. Child hides in coat closet while Sobbing Mother pulls herself together.