This morning, my 4th grader left for her school bus all on her own.
We’ve been preparing for this all year, on and off every few weeks or months. On the one hand, I’m more than ready to allow her to do the walk by herself, but on the other hand, her dad isn’t quite there yet.
There’s a big brother in the mix that could walk her part way and take his public transit bus from her street (where her school bus stops) rather than from the one he usually goes to just up the street from our house.
But this morning, the decision kind of sprung on me out of the blue.
“Mom, if I leave right now I can make the school bus”, she said while I was still in pjs fretting over the fact that no one in this house remembered to put the recycling and compost bins out. The truck was down the road, I could hear it, and now I had to rush outside and deal with it at the last minute. In pjs with my hair uncombed. While in the middle of making school lunches.
I hate that.
“I can just drive you”, was my reaction. “Later, when I had a chance to get dressed”.
“No, it’s ok, I can do it, I’ve walked that way since JK with you”, she replied, got her jacket on, gave me a kiss, and left.
I rushed after her with some recycling containers in my hand, ignorant of the fact that other people were outside and would see me in my morning state.
“Bye, be mindful of the bins on the sidewalks, and don’t forget to look both ways before you cross the street!” I yelled after here.
I went back inside and started the kettle. I’m going to need a coffee, soon.
When my partner came out of the shower and got ready for work, he asked where his daughter was.
She left, I responded and braced myself for his reaction.
He turned to the boy, who was still here.
“You should walk with her”, he told him.
She’s going to be 10 years old in a few months. She’s ready. I’m almost sort of most of the time ready. Our son had been walking on his own since the beginning of grade 4….she’s at the end of grade 4.
Her dad simply has to get ready, too. He has to. It’s time.
It’s a milestone for us, for our baby.
And it is what it is, ready or not.
Her school bell rings at 8:40 and they take immediate attendance. The automatic phone system will kick in if a kid doesn’t show up at school and a parent hasn’t phoned her in as absent with some reason.
The phone didn’t ring. There was no email.
She had arrived.
It was fun, and exciting, and wistful and sad all at the same time, for me.
For her, it’s probably just exciting and fun.
It seems, the kids are growing up.