The big yellow one.  The big yella fella.  BIG GOLD.  Any name you give it, it is still a school bus.  It carries the souls of innocent kids each day.  To and from an educational facility that we entrust our children with daily for 180 or so days a year.

Today started the next year for my oldest.  Middle school.  I came down stairs after my alarm went off 4 times.  That’s roughly 24 minutes or so of snooze.  I found her sitting in my recliner.  As I stood in the kitchen making breakfast for her, and lunch at the same time, I noticed the fog rolling in across the pasture.  I thought it was an appropriate beginning.  I know I was in a fog personally.

As in years past, I was nauseous at the thought of what was coming in an hour.  I would stand with her at the bus stop, waiting for the first page of the first chapter of the new book in her life.  She is the only kid at her stop.  We talked about this and that.  I told her I loved her and hoped she had a great first day.

I prayed many times over the night, staying awake until well after 3 a.m., somehow thinking that was going to help.  Then, it was as if God sent me a personal note.  A note that it was going to be alright and she was going to be ok.  As I’m packing that lunch up, I notice out the back window a deer.  A doe, rather large.  Then from the high grass comes her two fawns.  Still with their white spots, the mom is there to protect them.  From a distance she watches as they eat from the Willow tree.

Then it dawns on me, I am now watching from a distance as this mother doe is.  I cannot be there to hold her up.  To walk her class to class.  I can be here to protect from a distance.  But I am still here, as a father, a daddy, a confidant and protector.  At times I think what was I thinking and how did I ever think I was qualified for this role?

As I am finishing up this, it’s been about an hour since she got on that bus; the big yella fella.  She rode off to middle school and a new adventure.  As I look into the reflection on my screen while I type the paragraph above, I notice a big yella fella out of my dining room window.  It is her bus from elementary school on his way to start life out for at least one kid I am sure starting kindergarten.

I think of how somewhere in my town right now, there is at least a dozen other parents wondering what I am wondering about the first day, and feeling what I am feeling.  Hope, love, despair, frustration, need, pride, and a peace.  A feeling that for the first time in 7 years of 1st days, I didn’t cry at the bus stop like a fool.  I didn’t puke.   I shed one tear, then I laughed.  Laughed out loud at the world for they know not what they are up against in my child.  Strength, dedication, love, knowledge and perhaps the most important thing-God’s Grace.  She is ready to take it on.  Beware world-don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Big yellow