Thursday, September 6, 2012


So I'd pretty much promised myself that I was not going to do the seemingly obligatory first-day-of-school post, most of which have made me want to go hurl.

But when my son got on the bus this morning for the first time, walking up those steps as if it were the most natural thing in the world, not really knowing, entirely, how he'd get to his classroom or find his teacher or get back on the right bus to get home or get off at the right bus stop to find me ... I was struck by his innocent trust, and by his courage.

Our elementary school is right up the road from us.  The only reason he gets on the bus in the first place is that there is no sidewalk on some very busy stretches of local highway, and there's a wacky traffic circle between our house and there.  And of course the great thing about being home is that if he needs me, I'm a stone's throw away.

But still: he'd never gotten on a school bus before.  Never ridden alone before.  Never navigated his school by himself.  He put complete trust in the bus driver, and in the people who would help him to get off the bus, get to his classroom, get him back on the bus, and get him home.

I couldn't help but wonder, watching him with pride, when we lose that innocent trust, that ability to put our lives in the hands of strangers without question or fear.  And I couldn't help but wish that it came more easily.

When was the last time you put your life in the hands of a stranger?  Did you find it difficult to do so?
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  1. In college when I made a stupid drunken mistake and ended up alone in a bad part of town with no cash - this was before cell phones. A bus driver picked me up, brought me through the rest of his shift, and then drove me home. I am still so thankful to him but it was really hard for me to trust him. I was terrified to get in his car but I didn't see another option. He was just a really good guy. I asked him why he helped me and he said, "It's what I'd want someone to do for my sister." I wish I could find him and thank him but I don't even know his name.

  2. You know, my children had lost that trust by the time the were about six months old. I don't think I'm a particularly cautious or fear-inculcating parent, but there's no way my five year old would have walked on a bus without me last year. It was hard enough to get him to let me leave him in a strange classroom with a new teacher and different kids.

    So maybe the trustingness isn't such a global thing, even for children.

    As for me, the most I can say is that somehow I managed to make pretty good judgement calls even when not entirely sober, and either through luck or skill, never got myself into a sticky situation I couldn't get out of.

  3. This post gave me a lump in my throat. It's such a dilemma. You want them to need you, but you want them to be brave and willing to leave you. You want them to be leary of strangers, but you want them to be trusting and willing to give others a chance. It sounds like you struck just he right balance. Congratulations on being the mom of a schoolager. :)

  4. Wow. I haven't allowed myself to think along these lines in awhile, either what you're saying or what Mud Hut Mama said.

    Maybe it was when my husband was in an accident 3 summers ago. A whole bunch of strangers (experts in their fields, at least) swooped in to take care of him.

    Congrats to your son on his now-bigger world :-)

  5. Happy first day of school to your little one! Thanks for the detailed reply about BlogHer. Food for thought!

  6. We think we teach our kids and they are the patient, loyal, brave and honest teachers !! I tend to trust strangers (my husband would say to a fault) ... Trusting myself & God's plan ... Much harder !!

  7. What a big milestone for your son and you! It is really interesting to think about why over the years we stop being so trusting. The first example that came to mind when it comes to putting myself into the hands of strangers was taking plane and train rides to/from BlogHer.


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