If I ever become a school bus driver, I will choose to drive the short bus. When done right, the ride from home to school and back again is a big party. (It might also be that way on the long bus, but the driver isn’t usually invited.)
We love our bus drivers. This year we have James in the morning. He encourages Zack as he gingerly makes his way down what my son fears could be an icy ramp leading from our porch to ground level. The kids on the bus join in, “Come on, Zack. You can do it!”
James confessed early in the year, “I love my job!” That was on the day that our lab Lily lumbered up the steps for her final visit. and Nita, sitting in her spot on the front seat, burst into peals of laughter and jumped up and down.
Who wouldn’t love a bus full of happiness where dogs are allowed and cheering each other on is encouraged?
Last year it was Michelle who made the long walk down our driveway a bit quicker each morning. She had a voice that carried far, and I loved it because it spurred Zack on. She was so cheerful and happy to see him, day after day, yelling, “Come on, Zack!” Sometimes he even broke into a run when she called.
I’ve set my phone alarm to go off five minutes before each bus pick-up or drop-off so I’m there when I need to meet it.
In the afternoon, I’ve been leaning in to get out of the cold during the past couple of weeks. Jamie, our afternoon driver, and I chat while Zack rouses himself and comes from the back.
“Say thank you and goodbye,” I prompt once Zack’s feet hit the concrete. He partially turns and waves, mumbling something close to the words I want him to speak. She cheerfully responds, “Good-bye Zack. See you tomorrow.” And with that, the door slides closed and she is off to deliver the rest of her passengers.
Zack and I walk slowly up the driveway and I ask, “How was your day, Zack?”
He replies, “The Cat in the Hat!”
“You can watch that when we get home, but now, tell me how your day was,” I insist.
“The Cat in the Hat.”
“By Dr. Seuss. How was your day, Zack? Was it good or bad?”
“By Dr. Seuss.”
“I know, but was your day good or bad?”
“By Dr. Seuss.”
“Zack, how was your day? Was it good?”
“Oh, that’s good. What did you do?”
“By Dr. Seuss.”
When it starts like this, usually the rest of the evening follows with the same dialogue.
Dr. Seuss and Owl Babies
Did you know there are many people on YouTube who have videoed themselves reading Dr. Seuss books? I often have feelings of affection for these people.
Our son Taylor was home recently and he commented that Zack alone has upped the rankings on these YouTubers tremendously.
Whether or not he has watched it on YouTube, Zack and I almost always end the evening sitting side-by-side on the couch, reading The Cat in the Hat. I start and he finishes nearly every sentence for the first five to ten pages. We both jump when something goes “Bump!” and we both shake our finger when the fish says, “No, no!”
Sometimes we make it to the very end, and sometimes we stop before the part when Thing One and Thing Two come out of the big red wood box.
As long as we get to read the page when the cat falls on his head, I’m good. It’s my favorite part. Don’t ask me why.
After our nightly adventure with Dr. Seuss, we read Owl Babies, which Zack used to insist was also by Dr. Seuss, but has recently begun to admit is really by Martin Waddell, with illustrations by Patrick Benson. We love this tender story about a mother owl who goes away during the night and her three babies who wait, worrying and watching for their owl mother to return.
As with The Cat, Zack knows the complete text for Owl Babies and either joins in with me or says it himself. He particularly likes Bill, the youngest owl, and his repeated line, “I want my Mommy!”
I take liberties lately, and when the baby owls close their owl eyes and wish their owl mother would come I have them say a prayer as well, asking Jesus to bring their owl mother home. Zack never complains about this addition.
If I can possibly manage it, this is one book we read to the very end. I want to see that mother owl return safely, don’t you?