Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Being a Bus Stop Parent

I love the bus stop.

I remember before my kids were in the public elementary school, I would drive through the neighborhood in the mornings and see all the kids and parents gathered at corner, waiting for the bus. I would think to myself that it was so nice to see all those neighborhood kids together and the parents talking to each other. That must be how you really get to know the other parents in the neighborhood, I realized.

And I was right!

When we first moved into the neighborhood, I was pregnant with the Pumpkin. Once moved in, we had the first baby... then the second... and our world condensed. Our focus at first was simply on surviving those baby and toddler years! Once the youngest was a toddler, we slowly started looking around. We would go outside to play with chalk or bubbles, and we'd wave and chat with neighbors. The kids would draw and blow bubbles with the kids who lived in the houses right around us. But it was irregular and short.

Once the kids started elementary school, I walked them up to the bus stop every morning. I would see the same parents and kids on the way there. We started chatting regularly, walking together. I even learned which kids went with which parents. And my kids started making real friends in the neighborhood.

Now, after the bus picks up the kids, I often stick around a few extra minutes to chat with other parents. I feel like we keep each other informed of what is going on. Oh, tomorrow the 1st graders need to remember their projects! Today the 3rd graders are doing testing in the afternoon? Tonight is the concert for the 4th and 5th grader chorus? Be careful when you cross that road with the kids, because people speed right through the intersection and almost hit one of the girls!

And I like that I get to know the kids, too. At Halloween, I walked around the neighborhood and really knew the kids who joined up with mine to trick or treat or just to chat. I see the kids at school and realize that the girl in the Pumpkin's after-school activity lives around the corner. The girl two houses down has become my daughter's best friend, and I am able to chat with her parents about what is going on.

I grew up in a very neighborly neighborhood, and I really wanted to raise my kids in similar type of neighborhood. The regular trips to the bus stop have been a wonderful way for me to feel the sense of community around me. We have a wonderful school, and it's great to get to know the kids and their parents better, especially when they live right around the corner. And now that it is becoming summer, we will again run into these kids and parents at the neighborhood pool. Because of the bus stop, my kids will have neighborhood friends to play with and I'll be able to chat with the other parents I've been getting to know, and the feeling of community will continue.