The first day of school (aka, the chaos begins)


This year, the first day of school was much more than that for us.  It was also the first day of middle school for my son, the first day of fourth grade for my daughter, the first time my work-from-home schedule included morning hours and, therefore, the first time ever that my husband was in charge of the before school routine.  Oh, and the first time that my son had to ride the bus instead of being dropped off by me or a neighbor – a bus that arrived at 6:50AM versus the 8:45AM drop off my son had throughout his elementary years.  Anticipating the need for a ‘practice day’ my husband had the foresight to take the morning off.

Working upstairs, I heard my husband going through the first day of school check list with our son. Did he have everything? His violin? His ID?  Yes? Good.  My daughter had woken an hour before she needed to in order to see her brother off. All was going great and they even had a good ten minutes to spare before the bus was scheduled to arrive.

It was my daughter’s voice that cut through the calm. “Isn’t that Emily outside at the bus stop?  She goes to your school now, why is she out there so early?”

I paused in my work as the sound of murmurs drifted upstairs.  My son shouted, “There’s a bus! A bus is at the bus stop and Emily’s getting on it!”

My husband called up to me, “There’s a bus here! I thought it wasn’t supposed to be here until 6:50! It’s not even 6:40 yet!”

I called down, “Is it bus 11? Go out and check that it is the right bus!”

The front door opened, shut, opened again.  My husband called up, “It’s gone.”

My son was in near hysterics. “Was that the right bus? Did I just miss the bus?”

My daughter put in her two cents, “It was bus number 13. Is that your bus?”

“Is his bus 13?” my husband shouted up to me.

“No – on the website it says his is bus 11.”

“Then why is there a bus 13 at the bus stop?” my husband shouted.

“How am I supposed to know?” I shouted back.  “Check the website!”

I heard my husband scramble into the kitchen for his laptop when my oh-so-helpful daughter called out, “There’s the bus again.  It’s going by again but it’s going really slow this time.”

“The bus is here again!” my son shouted up to me.


“I think it’s bus 13 again,” my daughter added.

“How is he supposed to know if it’s the right bus?” my husband shouted up. “The internet is running slow.”

“ASK THE FREAKING DRIVER!” I shouted back. By this time, I’d emailed my boss asking if I could log off even earlier than scheduled.

The front door opened, shut, opened again. My husband called up, “We missed it.”

“Ugh!” I exclaimed then shouted down, “J – just go outside and stand at the bus stop.  If ANY bus shows up – 13 or 11 or whatever – ask the driver if that’s the bus you’re supposed to be on.”  The front door opened and shut.  My husband’s footfalls stomped up the stairs.  He entered the bedroom where I was working.

“What are you doing?” I asked as he tore through the closet.

“I’m getting dressed to take the kid to school.  We obviously missed the freaking bus.”

“But that was bus 13, right?”

“That was the first one. I have no freaking clue what the second one was.”

I started to say, “Maybe it will go by again – ” when the front door opened and my son’s voice cut me off. “There’s another bus coming from the other direction.”

My husband and I shouted together, “GO OUT TO THE BUS STOP!”

My husband raced down stairs, the front door opened and shut. I listened for a few moments then the door opened again.  My husband sighed heavily and slowly made his way back upstairs.

“It was bus 11. He got on the right bus. Apparently there are two buses this year that are both going to the middle school but come by the bus stop just a few minutes apart. Which is the stupidest freaking thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”  He collapsed on the bed as the chaos of the last five minutes slowly faded.

Not thirty seconds after he laid down my cell phone chirped announcing a new text message.  I read it and cringed.

“What?” my husband said, already nervous.

“It’s J.  He took his cell phone on the bus and just texted me.  He forgot his schedule that has his locker combination on it.”  My husband stared at me with a look of utter disbelief.  I tried to smile but it was a weak effort.  “He has to have his schedule, baby.  I’m sorry.”

He continued to stare at me for a long moment. Then he glanced at my PC where I was still logged in to work.  As reality dawned on him – that after all of the bus drama, he was still going to have to drive across town to the middle school to get our son his forgotten schedule – a slew of creative expressions filled the room.  I just gave him my sympathetic smile and continued working.

Suffice it to say that my husband and son’s morning routine has developed into a well-oiled machine now that everyone knows what they’re doing.  But that first time sure was entertaining.  At least for me. 😉


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