Before you read this, it is highly recommended that you read the previous blog http://mrsrogersfxneighborhood.blogspot.com/2012/12/just-another-manic-monday.html. Otherwise, this will not make sense!
Since Monday, we have had plenty of time to think and reflect on what happened. Our nerves have calmed and some resolve has come as a result. There has been, especially, an overwhelming feeling of contentment for all of us.
On Tuesday, Joe’s bus (CAR) arrived right on time. Much to our surprise, the same driver was at the wheel. I felt a little bit of panic. She did not say anything about the previous day, and knowing that I had already said my peace to Executives with RTD, I did not feel the need to “unload” on the driver. After all, I am not one to beat a person when they are down. Joe got on the bus as excited as ever and they took off.
The bus arrived at Ace as planned, and Daniel was there. Normally, Joe would just stand up on his own, dart off the bus and go right into Ace with Daniel tailing behind. Not today. Today, Joe stayed seated and was unsure about what to do next. This behavior tells me that there is a “hitch in the get’along”. It must be resolved. Daniel proceeded to get on the bus and encourage Joe to get off. He did. Joe went into work and had an awesome day!
This morning, Thursday, after posting my blog on the RTD website and sending it to adult programs within our school district, a new form of faith came to me. My phone rang early this morning. I answered, and a voice on the other end said, “Hi, this is the CAR driver. I am the one that drove your boys and dropped Joe at the wrong place. I am sorry. I can only imagine how hard this was for you.” At that very moment a great sense of peace came over me. Sometimes all a person wants to hear is “I’m sorry.” That’s it. Nothing else.
She continued, “I will be Joe’s driver, so I really want to get to know him and for him to feel comfortable riding. It helped me a lot to know what I know now, and I am prepared to help.” I was listening attentively. “One thing I think would help is for me to pick him up 15 minutes ahead and then I can take him right to work without any other stops”, she said. I liked this idea. She continued, “I am hoping that when we get to Ace that he will then feel comfortable getting right off, and I can say, ‘Joe, it’s time to get off’”. I said, “Well, one other thing you might say instead is, “Joe are you ready to get off? He may pause for 2 secondsw until his brain has time to respond and then just get up and get off on his own!” I thought that using the “ready-not-ready” method that we have worked hard to reinforce with Joe, might work better. “Great!” she said. We reaffirmed the plan and said our good-byes.
When I came back into the house after putting Joe on his bus, Chris said, “Well, all I can say is that it’s a good thing that you are here. If this situation had just been up to me I would have gone the route of getting the driver fired and never letting Joe ride again.” It reminded me about the Venus and Mars scenario. I said, “But, what good would that have done Joe?” He replied, “You are right, but it’s just instinctive to want to protect them—to have a finite outcome.” I understood that.
Since Monday, I have had many comments from Mothers all over the world and the U.S. Some stating their absolute fear and further desire to keep their kids at home and never take a chance on letting them experience independence. Others just congratulating Chris and I on our calm demeanor. Little do they know that the fear we felt was very real and palpable.
With all of the terrible, horrific, fear-ridden things that are happening in our communities now it would be so easy to follow that fear and let it be our driver. It wouldn’t be easy in the long run, but for today, it would be fabulous to think that we had full control over what our boys were doing every moment of every day.
When our boys were about 5 and 3 years old, we wrote down a life goal for them no knowing if we would be able to keep that unwritten promise to them. We did it anyway with hope in our hearts. That goal states that, “We want our boys to be as happy and as productive as they can possibly be.” Going forward we tried to keep “our eye on the ball” and be true to that goal. When we started to train them to ride the bus all those years ago, we felt strongly that we were doing the right thing in order to follow that premise…..relinquishing our control, but embracing trust. We have learned that every single thing we teach takes oodles of planning, but that's not all.
Putting the boys on the bus this morning, entrusting their lives and their happiness to someone else, took something much more than trust….It took faith. We DO have faith in others. It also reaffirms my faith that there is good in all people if you give them a chance to show it.