when bumble first started kindergarten, we used to drive to the bus stop. mind you, the bus stop was actually very close to our house, if i walked down to the end of our shared driveway, i could see it. the thing is, our shared driveway ended on a very busy street, and i just wasn't comfortable walking him and his brother down that road. especially since we would have to cross the street to get to where the stop was and there was no sidewalk so we were forced to walk along the shoulder. so as wasteful as it might seem to others driving such a short distance twice a day everyday, it's what we did.
then, when we were living with my moms, we still drove to the bus stop. we technically could have walked, it wasn't that far, and my moms lived in a quiet area. the problem was really that we were never all together and ready early enough that we could make it to the stop. there were many mornings that i can remember where we would pull up right behind the bus as it stopped, and my boys would jump out and run while i beeped so the bus would know not to pull away. have i mentioned how hard it is for us to get our stuff together so we can actually get to places on time? we rarely walked in the afternoon either. the boys were always bugging me to walk home, for whatever reason they thought it would be fun. the first day that it was nice, i threw fish in her stroller and we walked to get the boys, and then less than halfway home lumpy started crying. it seems that the bus ride was extra long and he had to go pee. we ended up "borrowing" a neighbor's bushes, and it was a long time before we tried walking home again.
now we live in a nice little neighborhood. quieter, and with sidewalks everywhere. and because the elementary school that my boys attend is connected to our neighborhood by a footpath, any child that goes to that school and lives in this neighborhood has to walk. technically, we have a choice: either we walk everyday or i can drive them everyday. depending on the weather, i will drive them, but most days we walk. of course, there are still days where we are running late in the mornings, and i end up driving them because they'll never make it if we tried to walk. or there has been a time or two when fish decided to take her nap at pick up time, so i'd plunk her in bed beside her dad, and then i'd drive to get the boys so i could get back quicker.
but now it's spring. and with the nicer weather and longer days, it seems easier to get up and going in the mornings. so we're trying something new: i am letting the boys walk by themselves in the mornings. for the longest time, i was worried to let them go, even though we live in a safe neighborhood. even though we see the same people whenever we walked together, usually people with dogs that walk the same way everyday. even though there are bunches of other kids that also walk. in fact, i finally realized that there are quite a number of other kids that walk by themselves everyday. so we sat and talked about it. and i talked about it with my husband. and everybody agreed that the boys were old enough, were ready.
still, we have walking rules. they go the same way everyday, which is the same way they'd go if i was with them. they always stay together. they don't talk to anyone they don't know, grown ups or kids, it doesn't matter. they walk straight to school, no detours.
so far, it's been good. they've made it to school on time every time, though i still have to tell them when to leave. and i always panic a little until after i know the school day started and the school didn't call wondering where my boys are. but then, that's just how it is, when you're a mom.