Because Shea has an IEP, he is offered door to door bus service for pre-school which is a really wonderful thing. And, because the bus picks him up at my door and I climb on to buckle him up 4 days a week, I have gotten to know all of Shea's fellow bus pals.
There are only 5 including Shea, so it is a lovely little grouping. And, it wouldn't be as lovely without the bus driver, Karen, who has a great attitude and is a calm, happy person to ride to school with.
Sometimes Karen has rock music cranked. She says the kids asked for something "fast" and then they will all be banging out to some classic rock tune. Sometimes the kids are blissing out to Bach or whatever happens to pop up on the local classic station.
I think it is sweet that she is so present with the kids each day. She isn't just the bus driver, she is their friend.
They are all boys except for one girl, Sophia, a little red head. She is the same age as Shea and we have known her since they were first identified back when they were 18 months old. Sophia is the girl who Shea bestowed the only hug of his birthday party on. He just couldn't help hugging Sophia. The best part is that she didn't mind and hugged back.
Sophia has been singing the same song for a good couple of months. "Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly" she peeps, almost not recognizable yet somehow...there it is. Is she watching The Wizard of Oz over and over again? Is she a Judy Garland fan? I don't know.
The kids, after seeing me all year, now include me in whatever happens to be going on. Will I pick up so-and-so's teddy bear. Where is your chicken? Can Shea have a play date?
After I buckle Shea in and climb off the bus, I have this delicious freshly dropped off feeling, I am particularly exuberant.
I stand and wave to all the kids and blow kisses to Shea (and whoever else will catch them) while jumping around like an idiot. The kids find this particularly hilarious and undoubtedly figure I am one of those "fun" moms.
I'm not really, just really glad to see the bus drive out of my driveway.
Shea is included and accepted on this bus. These are his peers, his friends. The years ahead will only get more complicated but the time on this bus makes me feel like they are a team and can take it on together.