For a few months now, my daughter has been walking the little boy next door home from the school bus stop. It was an innocent enough request from my neighbour: the bus comes right in the middle of her younger son’s nap time and it would be really helpful if my daughter could walk him home so didn’t have to leave the house. This mom’s sanity is temporarily preserved and my daughter learns some responsibility. Win-Win. The fact that no adult walked me to or from school other than my first day of kindergarten is entirely irrelevant these days. If your child is in junior kindergarten, one parent needs to be present to collect them off the bus every day. Suffice to say, that this mom went to a great amount of detail to get the school board and the transportation authority’s permission to have my 10-year old stand in for this critical role.
My daughter is in charge of this boy for all of 500 metres or so until they reach the house next door, where my neighbour is usually waiting at the front door. My daughter takes great pride in this role, holding his hand the whole way and making sure he walks on the inside on our sidewalk-less street. She was richly rewarded for this role at Christmas when the parents presented her with a gift certificate to Cineplex Odeon! She was in heaven!
Last week, among the many “To-Do’s” on my list, I reminded my husband of my daughter’s semi-annual dentist appointment and his promise to take her. “Don’t forget to pick her up at school at 1:30pm today and get her to her appointment for 1:50pm.”
None of us remembered to call our neighbour.
None of us remembered that if there my daughter wasn’t there to walk him home, and no adult was present to meet his bus, they would not let him off the bus. He is only 4, after all, and the massive coming-of-age rite to walk yourself home from the bus stop is still a full year away.
None of us remembered until it was too late. My husband, returning from the dentist appointment, found our neighbour walking down our street wondering – I’m sure – what unimaginable horror had befallen her son and my daughter.
We felt awful. My daughter felt worse.
Of course, all ended well and her son was not even phased by the ordeal. He was returned to the school by the bus driver and his own teacher was still at the school doing some work so our neighbour found him contentedly organizing his class’s activities for the next day.
We too have all recovered and can even laugh about it now and of our new 10-point action plan to avoid a reoccurance. I’m not worried though because I know my daughter will remind us!