My sister and I were talking yesterday about how weird it is to send your kids on the bus and have them find their way to class all on their own. I know this has been going on for a long time, but it’s kind of nerve-wracking as a parent.
In Rowan’s case, he has a little badge with his name, a colored dot for which hallway and his teacher’s name in case he gets lost. I mean, Alamo Heights has this first week of school figured out. Plus, all the kindergarten classes are at one campus that is just kindergarten. How cool is that?
My brother just moved to Houston, though, and his second grader and kindergartener started a new school that is enormous. He said my little niece has to walk a minimum of a quarter mile with twists and turns to get to her kindergarten class. They walked it twice on Meet-the-Teacher because he was worried about her getting lost. Then add to the first-day anxiety the fact that his wife is a teacher at the high school, which starts at 7:30. Katherine takes the kids with her to work and they ride the bus from her school over to their elementary school at 7:30. So she had to leave her littles at the bus stop and head back to class hoping they made it on the bus and into their classes.
(By the way, Katherine is a high school math teacher and has a cool YouTube channel called Higher Math Solutions. If you’re ever stumped with your kid’s math homework, you should check it out and subscribe here before you have to breathe into a paper bag or wash your anxiety medication down with a glass of wine.)
(Hey, don’t knock the paper bag until you’ve tried it. It used to be my go-to in all things math.)
Of course, everybody’s kids made it to class and are having great weeks so far. I told my sister, “You know, sometimes I feel like maybe our kids aren’t living up to their full potential. I mean, our grandma used to stay with her aunt in Houston, who would give her one dime to get her out of her hair. With that dime, she would ride the public transportation bus to the movie theater, buy a movie ticket and a lollipop and ride the bus back to her aunt’s house when she was SIX. All by herself.”
Blows my ever-loving mind.
Then my sister reminded me that my dad used to sell papers on a street corner when he was six. It was right across from the post office where his daddy (My grandpa) worked, but my point is he had a job at six years old. And when he thought he had a cavity because there was something black on his tooth that wouldn’t come off with brushing, he walked over to the dentist office close to where he sold papers, walked in and told them he needed to see the dentist by himself. They took him back and had him hop up in the dental chair, and as the dentist examined his mouth, he asked him, “Have you been chewing tar?”
“Don’t do that.”
Then he went back to his corner selling papers.
I guess my point is…I’m not really sure I have a point.
My point is I think we underestimate our kids a little in this crazy, helicopter-parent world we live in. I know I feel like I can take a deep breath and relax that Rowan will probably get to school safe and sound on the school bus. It’s not like he’s trying to navigate the public transit in Houston at his age. And even if he was, it’s successfully been done before.
How long would it take, in this day and age, for a call be made to Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services if a six-year-old boarded a bus to go see a movie by himself in Houston?
My guess is under two minutes. 😉