Before Dan’s first day of school, we checked the bus schedule a million times. He chose his clothes the night before and prepared the items in his new messenger bag. As we walked to the bus stop we double-checked that he had all his equipment and reviewed the schedule for the day. He was ready, but it was also obvious that he was nervous. As he boarded the bus and I stood on the side and watched the bus pull away from the bus stop, I got a knowing nod and reassuring smile from the bus driver. Was the twinge in my stomach so obvious?
I watched the bus join the traffic and recede into the distance. It was the first time I had not accompanied him some place and he was on his own. I returned home and stayed close by to be available in case the call to pick him up early from school came. The phone didn’t ring.
At 3:30 p.m. I walked to the bus stop to greet him on his return. I saw a lot of people exit the bus but he wasn’t one of them. Somehow I had missed him and he had walked home alone.
He was enthusiastic about his day but did admit that it was difficult to sit through the two-hour classes. He was fascinated by the topics his teachers discussed and enjoyed the day. He also remarked that he was probably the youngest student in his class, but said that didn’t bother him and he felt very comfortable. Dan was very proud of his accomplishments — taking the bus alone, walking from the bus to the school, crossing the street, finding his classroom, buying his lunch, and returning home. It was all a big deal — a very big deal.
Dan is a stroke survivor and my husband of 36 years. He suffered an ischemic stroke at age 59, while at work as a senior executive at a worldwide firm.
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