Tuesday I altered my schedule a tad so I could get ready for an event that night. I picked Nick up from school, we rushed home and I took a shower before the school bus got here. That way, after Maggie got home, all I would need to do would be slather on some make-up and figure out what in the world to wear.
So, I stood in my robe talking to my husband on the phone (telling him the bathroom sink would not turn completely off) when the bus pulled up. And then it pulled away.
My child did not get off.
I briefly informed my husband that the world had just fallen slightly off its axis (at least to me) and told him I’d call him back when I found her.
Then I ran to the bedroom and threw on pants of some sort and a shirt of some sort. Then I hightailed it out to the end of the driveway.
The bus makes a loop around a few other blocks and passes by our house on the way out of the neighborhood. So there I stood. Trying not to vomit.
When the bus finally (normally it takes about 3 minutes, for some reason that day it took forever) came around the corner, Maggie’s little head popped up in the window.
I was doubled over with relief.
The bus driver couldn’t tell if I was home the first time around, so she let Maggie ride around the block with her to drop the rest of the kids off. The driver wasn’t going to let my kindergartener out at an empty house. For this, I thank her. But we needed to get our signals straight. So now, I will leave the door cracked when I am home and the driver will know to let her off. Too bad I had to lose a few years off my life to come up with this plan.
(Don’t get me wrong, if she doesn’t get off the bus someday, that likely means she is still at the school. Just because she doesn’t get off the bus, it doesn’t spell disaster. I can rationally comprehend that, now. But at the time she didn’t hop off, and I was literally naked, but for a robe, I felt completely vulnerable.)
Crisis averted. Make-up slathered. Clothes chosen. Off to my event.
Where I saw many parents of children Maggie used to go to school with. Countless times I was told that their child still asked about Maggie all the time. Apparently I’m not the only one who misses Maggie when she’s not around.