first day

by Bella Rum

It was her first day of kindergarten. She was excited, but he had to stay behind. I’m sure she chose her ensemble. It’s unusual that her only accessory is her name tag. She does have a sticker on her backpack (which becomes pertinent) with the location of her bus stop. I guess that could be considered an accessory. This girl has chosen her own clothing since she was two. She told her mother the other day, “Mama, I will accessorize you.” She loved her first day, her class, her teacher and the whole big-girl-school experience. She’s ready, but there was one little incident.

In the days leading up to her first day in a brand new school, there was big discussion in her house about whether she would ride that yellow school bus. She WANTED to ride. Mama wasn’t so sure. Papa and Ava won the debate and she rode the bus.

Mama and Papa (my son left work early to be there) were waiting at her bus stop in the afternoon. When the bus arrived and the other children disembarked, there was no Ava. My son boarded the bus. No Ava.

The bus driver had no idea who or where she was. He said it wasn’t his responsibility to make sure five-year-olds got off at their scheduled stops. As it turns out, he was correct. There is no policy regarding five-year-olds. Finally a little boy on the bus said he thought she had gotten off at the previous stop – about a quarter of a mile away.

My son, the marathon runner, sprinted to the previous bus stop. It’s good that he was there because Mama is pregnant and Ava’s little brother was with her – no sprinting possible. When my son approached her, Ava was standing there all alone, looking around, wondering where Mama and Papa were.

I won’t go into the frustrating details, but my D-I-L has made numerous calls and had many discussions. There were immediate apologies from the school, but it took longer to get the bus company to even admit there was an incident. “We’ll have to investigate.

Apparently there is no policy for making certain that a five-year-old gets off at the correct stop or that an adult is present. Only four-year-olds are helped. It was her very first day in a brand new school, and she didn’t have the routine down yet. My daughter-in-law is working on getting the policy changed to include those oh-s0-old-and-experienced five-year-olds.

My granddaughter is pretty confident and extroverted. I can see how this could have been more traumatic for a shyer child – like her brother – and heart-stopping for any parent.