Issue #26 – Still Waiting for the Bus

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Still Waiting for the Bus

Rana Reisman

“Wait inside… it’s very cold out.”
“No kvetching – please be patient…the bus is coming soon.”
“Hurry up – the bus is here!”
“Let me help you with your coat.”
“Your bus broke down. I’ll have to drive you to school.”

Sometimes I wonder how many hundreds of times I’ve uttered those words over the years.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate things until they are gone.

In some strange way I will miss the little yellow school bus.
It’s a source of comfort and security knowing it’s just around the corner.

As Yehuda winds down his many years in school and yeshiva, now that he is approaching 21, and transitioning into Day habilitation, the little yellow school bus will soon become a memory.

He won’t be eligible for the door-to-door treatment anymore, no longer greeting the friendly driver and matron. Although he will be traveling via different modes of transportation, it is not the same.

In my mind, I’ll have to wrap up those memories and file them under “childhood.”

Childhood: Hmmm…most people outgrow childhood when they transition into adolescence and adulthood.
They venture into new uncharted territory: high school, Bais medresh, seminary, driving, dating, college, working, marriage and being blessed with children of their own. That little school bus is just a glimmer of their past.
Most will hardly remember it.

But when you have a child with an intellectual disability they stay contently in their childhood.

Nothing changes much for them.

Despite the incredible progress Yehuda has made, and the impressive changes I see in his maturity and behavior, he is still a sweet young man, gentle, somewhat naive, settling down as he ages. But, his future is limited.
He won’t share the same opportunities as that of his neighbors.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking as I wait with him for his bus. I feel as though I’m in a time warp – stuck in a time bubble. Yet, we all know time doesn’t stand still…and yet it somehow does.

Has anything changed in the 15 years since he began riding the bus?

Am I still 39?
Is he still 9?
I am in my mid-fifties and still waiting with my 20-year-old son for his school bus.

I’ve been standing here for 15 years waiting, while I watch all the neighbors walk their kids to the corner bus top.

I have witnessed so many of my neighbors’ children move on towards all the milestones set out for them.
Many of them are younger than Yehudah. Some are just a few years older and have greatly surpassed him.
They have graduated, married and moved away.
We get new neighbors, younger families and it happens all over again.
They grow up, mature, and move on, into their adult lives, never saying goodbye, hardly looking back, while we stay and wait.
Waiting for the bus.
Self-pity sets in.
Why can’t he move on?
Why can’t he mature?
Why can’t he be like them?
When will he transition into a fully independent adult?
I know the answer.
I know.
It’s just too painful to express.
I’ve learned that it’s okay not to be okay.
I’ve learned to recognize and validate my feelings.
I work on myself to “accept and not expect”.
I’ve learned that not everyone is given the same opportunities.
I’ve learned that not everyone is granted the same path.

And as Yehudah and I still wait for the bus, day after day, season after season, year after year, watching all the other children move past us and away, I hold him close.
He, like his bus, has become my security, keeping me safe in my own time bubble, possibly fooling myself that time stands still .
I hold him a little longer and a little tighter knowing that he will forever be mine…
And nothing, not even time can ever take him from me.