The brave one

Today begins the second week of kindergarten for C, and the first day of his new bus route. He’s an old hand at this: he started riding a school bus at three. But unlike his old bus ride, this route traverses two NYC boroughs and is one hour and forty-five minutes in length.

A neighbor later said, “You guys are so brave to put him on a bus with total strangers for such a long ride. I don't know if I could do that.” I thought of how difficult it can be for C to express his needs or fears; I remembered how the school bus carrying my friend's child went missing for two-and-a-half hours last week; I imagined C sitting on this bus with people he didn't know and couldn't really communicate with, and my blood ran cold again.

As I walked away, I remembered C peering out the window after I put him on the bus, how a small smile crossed his face as he saw me wave at him, and I realized he’s the brave one, not me.