...The glow of the red tail lights against the cool, still-dark morning
...The brightness of the interior lights beckoning all to come within
...Children's excited voices purring
...Parent's nervous small talk
...The hum of the heavy engine
We arrived a half hour early and still found ourselves swallowed up in a huddle of parents, teachers, and excited students, arms heavy with paper lunch sacks, CD players, and water bottles.
The boys and girls, most of whom arose at 4 a.m. due to sheer anticipation are headed off on an adventure. The fourth grade field trip - lasting 13 hours.
For many, it is their first experience riding a charter bus and the excitement is too much to contain, spilling over in ramblings about nothing and everything all at once.
My Jacob is a member of this drone of carefree travelers.
Headed down the road, in a very large bus. Without me.
Sometime last month, the conversation went something like this:
"Jacob, do you want me to go with you?" I asked.
"Aww Mom, I am old enough. Please can I go by myself?"
"Well," I say, trying to decide if I thought he was ready, "ok, buddy, I guess you are old enough." I rationalized that although he is only nine, he does very well in school (actually was just invited into the AIG program), has a good relationship with his teachers, and has been showing some maturity around home lately.
So, there I was this morning, standing off to the side with my cup of coffee which had grown cool in the crisp morning air, as my little/big boy climbed aboard with a quick "Bye Mom!"
I watched him clamber to the back of the bus, locate his buddies, plunk his backpack down, and settle in.
As I turned to walk back to the car, I can't be sure, but I believe the sound I heard was apron strings popping. But, I can't be certain of course.
Edited to add: The Boy has returned, safe and sound. And asking for an Ipod.