Friday, March 20, 2009

Kids Who Wave

The Little Boy Who Waves - by Michelle M. Guppy

On the first day of school, the yellow bus with the squeaky brakes stopped in front of our house. The attendant took my child's hand as he made his way up the steps into the bus. She told him, "Good morning! This is your seat." I stepped away from the door and went to the window where he was sitting. I tapped on the window, trying to get my son to look at me. He wouldn't. The fan on the dashboard had caught his attention, and there was no distracting him from that. I waved good-bye to him anyway.
As time went on, we had our routine down--both Brandon and I. I would guide him up the stairs of the bus, then go to the window to try to get him to look at me. He never would. I simply could not compete with the fan on the dashboard that fascinated him so. But I kept waving.
One day I noticed the other children sitting behind Brandon. One child would stare out the window as he was rocking back and forth. I wondered what he was thinking. He had such a serious, far-off, expression on his face. One morning I noticed another child a couple rows behind him. As I waved to my son, as the bus left, this particular child waved back. He was looking at me, waving and smiling.
And so began our new routine. Each morning after I would tap on the window and wave to my son, I would then turn and wave to this little boy. He actually appeared to be anticipating his turn to be "waved at".
That was our thing: every morning as the bus left, I would turn and wave to this little boy. I admit I am very jealous of this boy's mom. Every morning she gets a wave and a smile from her son--and my son doesn't even know I am there waving at him. Once my son gets on the bus, his focus turns to the fan on the dashboard. Yet this little boy I now wave at too gives me hope that someday my child might notice me and wave to me with a smile. It is a very bittersweet moment each morning, but it is a hopeful moment as well. Many mornings I have walked back into my house in tears, pleading with God to make my child more like that child.
One morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. After I grumpily handed my child off the teh attendant, I turned to go back inside. I didn't tap on the window to wave good-bye to my child--or anyone else's. As I got to my front door and was about to open it, something made me turn and look at the bus. There it was--a panic-stricken face pressed against the school bus window with a little hand waving frantically at me. A wave of guilt spread over me. I hastily stepped back and turned to wave back, but it was too late; I don't think the little boy who waves saw me.
Never again have I forgotten to wave to him. And I truly miss that little boy when he's not there to wave at me.
I was sick one morning, and my husband had to do the bus routine for me. As I was giving him instructions as to wahat to put in our son's backpack and so on, I told him about the little boy who waves in the 6th row--and made my husband promise me he wouldn't forget to wave at him.
"Why do you want me to wave at someone else's kid?" he asked me.
I didn't have the energy to explain my feelings to him right then. That the little boy was my hope, my inspiration, my prayer for my own son. That I do it because for that one moment, I imagine my son being the little boy who smiles and waves good-bye to me each morning. Instead I replied, "Just please..."
He said he would.
I would never trade my son for anyone else's. I thank God every day for my child and what he CAN do. But inside of me, I do long for the day when the "little boy who waves" could be mine.
Another school year came and went. The little boy in the 6th row was no longer on the bus, but still I waved at my son with the hope that he would wave at me. One day out of the blue, the attendant said to me, "You know, it's the cutest thing--whenever the bus starts moving, while your son is humming and watching the fan, he will hold his hand beside his leg and start opening and closing his fist like he is waving."
As it turned out, what I wished for most desperately for had been there all along. And if I had given up looking for it, I never would have found it. I learned a powerful lesson about hope that day: it does not disappoint. Never give up hope. Have faith, because what may seem impossible just may be possible.

I post this story from my Mommy Diaries book because it applies to Chris and I. Every morning when I put him on the bus I wave at him. When I was young, my parents rarely made it to the bus stop with me, and it meant a lot to me to see them out there waving. So, from the beginning, I would put Chris on the bus, turn, take two steps up the driveway for a better view, and wave to him again. Chris doesn't always sit in the same seat twice, so I have to search, if it's cloudy I can't see through the tinted windows to the other side where I suspect he is, but I wave just the same. And I would keep waving until the bus was gone and all the kids were out of my sight. So, yeah, I was waving to all the kids. One day I noticed this little girl, with Down's Syndrome sitting in the 3rd row, waving back at me, and smiling. She always sits on my side of the bus, and she waves back. There are a number of kids with Down's that ride Chris's bus, and though they've got problems, I've never met someone with Down's that doesn't have an extra helping of heart and the love that goes with it. I love it when that little girl waves at me. One day Fina accompanied us to the bus stop, and you should've seen that little girl wave and smile, and mouth the word puppy. It was so neat. I love waving at all the Amazing, Special kids on Chris's bus. I bring Fina out there more often now that the weather is nicer just to see them smile even more. One day I swear I saw this little girl mouth the words I love you. This story brought tears to my eyes on the one day the lady Didn't wave. When it's cold, I certainly would rather run inside than wave until I'm long since sure the kids can't see me, but I don't. I picture Chris and what if he was watching for me and DIDN'T see me, or that one little girl waving frantically as if I'd forgotten to wave and smile at her, and I just can't go in. I even told Eric just the other day, to make sure he waves to Chris and all the kids as they pull away. Just like this lady. However, unlike this lady, sometimes I am able to see Chris wave at me and it does give me hope, and make me smile, and in general just makes my day.


Krysten said...

This is an excellent story. I LOVE kids with down's! You are absolutely right about them having an extra big helping of heart!

I think this story can certainly relate to the kids I work with every day too. Even though I get immensely frustrated with them, I always hold out hope that something I'm doing actually is getting through to them. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great story!