Monday afternoon I was sitting at the computer checking my email and hanging out on Twitter while I waited for John to get home from school. One of the emails was Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop prompts for the week.
I was leaning toward simple, or perhaps bold. The events of the next hour changed my mind.
John’s bus always drops him off at exactly 2:45. Since the first day of school he’s never been significantly early or late. I can see the bus stop from the window next to my computer, so I always sit there and watch him get off the bus and walk to the house. But Monday the bus didn’t come at 2:45. At 3:00 the bus hadn’t come, and I started to worry. At 3:15 Michael called to check in and I told him the bus hadn’t come, and he started to worry. So I pulled up the bus schedule, bus number, compound name, and phone number for the compound (what did people do before the internet?) and by the time I got through to a human it was 3:25. I told the woman my son’s name, what school he went to, and what bus he rode, and asked if there had been an accident or if the bus had broken down. She said calmly, “No, K— Middle School was on lockdown. They just released them at 3:16.”
“I’m sorry, you’ll have to call the school to get any further information about that. But the kids have bee released.”
The next twenty minutes were EXCRUCIATING. I tried my best not to think about Jodi Picoult’s “Nineteen Minutes”. Which means I thought about it constantly. Lockdowns mean weapons, threats to my child’s safety. The possibility of horrible trauma. When I saw John jump off the bus it was all I could do not to run down the street and grab him, but this is Middle School, so I kept my cool and waited on the front porch. It was hard, though. I had him call his dad and tell him he was okay. Within ten minutes this was what I saw:
A girl he’d gone to school with last year had called on the home phone to make sure he was okay when she heard about the lockdown. While he was talking to her he was also texting with the girl he sits next to on the school bus (the same one who rearranged two entire tables of people at the Madrigal Feaste so that she could sit next to him). Oh, and that yellow piece of paper is the homework he was supposed to be doing. But you know what? I’m not going to fuss about homework or girls or anything else today. I’m just going to hug him as often as he’ll let me.