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Thursday, June 14, 2007

The other side of a morning ritual

Nearly every morning during my drive to work my cell phone rings.  My regulars look at their watches and if it's around 7:45, they know who will be on the other end of the call.

[~ring~]

Me:  Hello

Yonah:  Hi Abba... I'm waiting for my bus!

Me:  Really?  That's great.  Are you happy to be going to school?

Yonah (with a little prompting from Zahava): Yeah, I'm going to school now.

Me:  You're such a lucky boy.  Have a good day.  I love you!

Yonah:  I love you too, Abba.  Bye.

We rarely deviate from this script and neither of us really minds.  Despite my nagging worry that he doesn't seem quite as enthusiastic about going to school as I'd hoped, this has become a well-loved ritual for both of us and I appreciate that Zahava is nice enough to arrange the call each morning.

I have to go into Tel Aviv today to run some errands so I got to sleep in a bit.  While the kids were getting ready for school Zahava asked me if I wanted to walk Yonah to the bus stop and wait with him until his bus comes... and I jumped at the  chance to see the ritual from the other side.

Apparently Yonah is a big celebrity at the bus stop.  All the men walking home from morning prayers greet him by name and shake his hand as they pass... and the bus drivers of the 'big kid's buses' all wave to him as they drive past.

After a few minutes of watching my little man (all three=and-a-half years of him) hold court at the bus stop, I decided to interrupt Zahava's morning Pilates and dialed our home number on my cell phone.  Without missing a beat Yonah dutifully informed her that he was at the bus stop and that he loved her very much.  Seeing the big grin on his face as he spoke into the phone was a special treat for me and will add an extra dimension to our future morning calls.

When his bus arrived a few minutes later, his bus driver opened the door and gave Yonah a big hello.  The Bat Shirut (an 18 year old girl doing her national service) came down the steps and beckoned to Yonah, and without looking back, he climbed the steep stairs into the bus and immediately began greeting his friends seated near the front.

I tried to catch his eye for one last wave good-bye but he was gone.

I have to say that as much as I enjoyed the extra time with him this morning and seeing him so happy and confident in his element... the whole business of the school bus swallowing up my little boy was a little, well, jarring.

He could have at least looked back and waved.

215_2

Posted by David Bogner on June 14, 2007 | Permalink

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Hey, at least he still lets you take him to the bus stop. Are your older kids even prepared to be seen with you anywhere where they might meet their friends? Mine usually ask to be dropped off round the corner.

Posted by: Simon | Jun 14, 2007 9:57:16 AM

Aww. What a sweet story. Yonah sounds like a real character! :-)

Posted by: Fern R | Jun 14, 2007 9:57:18 AM

i know just how you feel about the littlest one growing up -- my "baby" is going into kita aleph in the fall and i am internally dreading her misibat siyum from gan. i know i will just want to dissolve. the mamad school is so big and the classes too, and while i know she'll adjust very nicely, i am filled with mixed emotions at the thought of that adjustment away from me. hopefully she'll turn and wave.

Posted by: nikki | Jun 14, 2007 10:00:20 AM

Then comes the time when he'll find school a harry and would prefer to sleep instead.

Posted by: Rami | Jun 14, 2007 11:48:35 AM

Okay, I'm trying to extricate the dagger from my heart now. Thanks a lot!

At least you're reaction is appropriate for his age. Since I homeschooled my son through eighth grade, I had a rather...delayed...reaction when he began going to High School. He's extremely tall and so he looks like a man already, yet I hugged him, kissed him, and stood at my door watching him walk down the block, around the corner and out of sight as he made his way to the bus stop. Thankfully, after two years, I've stopped watching him...but he still gets a kiss and a hug before he leaves each morning.

Posted by: Maya | Jun 14, 2007 12:05:48 PM

Even though it hurts a little that he didn't look back, think about what a wonderful job you and Zahava have done since Yonah feels secure enough in your love and his ability to face the world without looking back. He knows you're there and you'll be there when he gets back.

Believe me, it's a gift that will bless him for life.

Man, watching our little ones grow is an awesome and humbling experience. My little brother, the one I raised, the one I comforted in the middle of the night for a feeding... he graduated from high school Cum Laude tonight. He's going to head to university to be a mechanical engineer. I'm so deeply proud of the young man he's become and your post reminded me of that little boy who cried for his "Sissy" when he had to go off to kindergarten.

My, how fast the world changes.

Posted by: mercurial scribe | Jun 14, 2007 1:29:55 PM

Simon... No, even the big kids (13.5 & almost 12) let us hug and kiss them in public. Ariella even holds my hand when we walk anywhere together.

Fern R... Yes he is. :-)

nikki... A see that a lot of people zeroed in on my moment of sadness that he didn't turn and wave. But the truth is I get such enthusiastic greetings from him at the end of the day that I know it isn't a reflection of any luke-warmness to his feelings for us. He's just excited to get to school.

Rami... If he's anything like me that shouldn't be too long from now. :-)

Maya... I still love watching my kids... especially when they don't know I'm doing it.

mercurial scribe... Yes, I can see that he is a very confident kid and loves interacting with people. However when faced with totally new situations he still sticks close to us.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 14, 2007 1:42:27 PM

Very nice story!
My son starts kindergarten in the fall, so he'll be taking the bus for the first time after two years of preschool. That should be a moving experience (pardon the pun!).

Posted by: Yaron | Jun 14, 2007 3:15:37 PM

Oh my gosh - what a sweet story. I love that you thought to have him call Zahava - she must have LOVED it.

Posted by: orieyenta | Jun 14, 2007 4:37:22 PM

Yep! He's a cutie, that Yonah!

Am delighted Trep got to see the facial expressions that accompany the conversations -- Yonah sometimes nods or shakes his head in response to something Trep says and I am constantly having to remind Yonah that Abba can't SEE him on the phone.... LOL.

As to Yonah getting on the bus without looking back....let's just say that this is a learned skill that that took some time....

(and patience)

(and coaching)

(on the parts of everyone involved in this little morning ritual of getting Yonah off to school!)

Posted by: zahava | Jun 14, 2007 5:09:18 PM

Weren't we supposed to get a hankie warning here?!

This reminds me of when RaggedyDad comes home and the kids clamor to the top-of-stairs gate (we live upstairs) to see their Papa.

He loves that look on their faces when they first see him. I told him that the other great moment is when they're playing upstairs and they first hear the key turning in the door - that moment of change and realization when they perk up and know what's coming!

Posted by: RaggedyMom | Jun 14, 2007 5:57:40 PM

I agree with RaggedyMom -- this story needed a hanky warning.

Your son is fortunate to have a father who loves him so much and who loves his mother so much.

Posted by: antares | Jun 14, 2007 6:39:13 PM

I'll always remember the day when the kids stopped looking back to wave goodbye.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 14, 2007 6:47:32 PM

Hi Trep,

Lovely story.

Thanks for sharing it.

Shalom,
Maksim-Smelchak.

Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak | Jun 14, 2007 7:05:39 PM

Aaaawwwww....so, so sweet! I am still upset that I didn't get to meet Yonah :(

Posted by: SaraK | Jun 14, 2007 8:31:22 PM

aw.
he sounds quite the gregarious lad.
hmm, kinda like Ferris.
o you are in for a fun ride.

Posted by: weese | Jun 14, 2007 11:11:27 PM

What kind of school do they go to at 3 1/2 years old? Pre School has a bus?? LOL... I am confused.

It is so sad the thought of letting my girl go even though she has been on my bus since she was 6 weeks old.

Thanks.

Posted by: Jennifer | Jun 16, 2007 4:08:52 PM

Yaron... Pun pardoned.

orieyenta... I think she did.

zahava... You mean he didn't start out this way? ;-)

RaggedyMom... The greeting I get at the end of the day is a whole 'nother story. If I don't brace myself this little guy will bowl me over with his enthusiastic hugs!

antares... He is an easy kid to love (aren't they all?).

Jack... true.

Maksim-Smelchak... Don't thank me... I'm a giver. :-)

SaraK... There's always next time.

weese... Thanks for that. :-)

Jennifer... Yonah goes to a special gan that is not within walking distance of our house. A story for another day.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 17, 2007 1:02:18 PM

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