Family Focus Friday – Scariest 45 Minutes of My Life
Day 2 of Kindergarten.
I am in tears…just sobbing on my steering wheel. And no, not because my son went to school today. But I watched life pass before my eyes in the scariest 45 minutes of my life. And I felt hopeless as I sat with the thought that there was absolutely NOTHING I could do.
Today’s Family Focus Friday was extremely difficult to write, as I am still processing that day in my mind…and fighting back a few more tears. Bear with me as I am again reminded of keeping my family in focus, always.
The day started out great. My son was so excited that today was going to be the first day of riding the bus. Nervous, scared and seriously excited about riding in his first EVER school bus (a 5 year old’s dream come true), I watched with tears in my eyes as I waved goodbye. My little boy was growing up. Don’t let these tears fool you. I didn’t become THAT blubbering mom.
The day went by as baby and I were adjusting to the new schedule and having JUST each other. Everything went fine in fact, uneventful.
We walked down to pick up brother at the bus stop that afternoon. I was actually excited thinking how much extra exercise I would receive by doing these bus stop walks everyday. The bus pulls up. I’m so excited to see my son’s smiling face as he tells me all about his bus ride.
He’s not there.
I wait. I wait some more. Maybe he forgot his lunchbox and went back to the seat. I ask the bus driver. She gets up and walks the rows. I get on the bus and frantically search. Then my heart sinks. He’s not on the bus. Everything becomes a blur in that moment as I second guess everything from my day.
Did he get to school? Did he make it to his class? The bus driver gets on her intercom to report a missing student. It starts sinking in more as minutes pass by. I even get angry with myself as I think “how do I call an Amber Alert?”
I call the school. They get frantic. I am put on hold. I start walking briskly back to my house. I get in my car and start driving around the neighborhood. Seriously 20 minutes pass by now as the horrible thoughts go through my head. “Did someone take him? I should have spoke to him more about talking to strangers. Where could he be?” Then worse. The school hangs up on me.
Hot tears are now streaming down my face as the minutes continue to drag on. I know that in an abduction, every minute counts. I call my husband without anything left to do except wait for the school to call me back. I try to calmly explain the situation. My voice is shaking. Darn it. He starts driving home.
How many minutes has it been now? I say a prayer.
Finally, the school calls. He got on a bus, the wrong bus. People are pointing fingers, blaming each other, trying to figure out where he is. No one can confirm he is still on the wrong bus. Trying to get folks to focus. “Where is my son?” More minutes pass by. I can see my son’s whole life flash before me. The bus finally pulls up to me.
Blinking back tears, I run out of the car. Dear God, please let my son be on this bus. He comes out, tears in his eyes. “Mommy, why weren’t you there?” Oh, he’s so angry with me. But I don’t care. He’s angry. He’s here. He’s mine. I can hold him forever.
It would take days for both of us to de-stress from the situation. Fingers still flying and pointing as everyone dodges the blame for the situation. But seriously? It’s the first week of school. He’s in Kindergarten. Things happen. I get that. I am NOT blaming the teacher, the driver, the school. I’m just so thankful to have my boy back again.
It’s amazing how the scariest moments in life make you really appreciate the non-important ones. It was the longest and scariest 45 minutes of my life. The thought of ANY parent losing their child, especially for the length of time I did, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. The lesson we learned? Hold my kids a little tighter today and everyday. All too soon they can be gone. Stop blaming. You waste more time trying to pin the awful situation on someone else instead of focusing on the issue. LOVE. More than anything, you appreciate someone so much more.
I just lost a few years off my life, added a few more grey hairs and carry around this vivid memory in my head. There’s new things we needed to learn and go over. New experiences we need to pull through. But you bet, my son and I do NOT look at a school bus the same way again.
And yes, he got back on the bus the next day. That’s my boy.