This morning on the way into work, something happened to me that I sincerely hate. I found myself stuck behind a school bus. Those of you who know where I live, and know where I work understand this. There are only two places where my little truck can workup the momentum to pass even a slow moving yellow monster. And this morning, there were oncoming cars in both of those locations. I was stuck for the long haul.
So, as I was driving (crawling) along at about five miles per hour, I began to notice some things. Most of the stops found not only the children waiting, but also a parent there to see the child off for the day. One poor kid was seen off by his father. Not generally a problem, except that dear old dad was clad only in boxer shorts. I felt sorry for the kid until we got to the next house.
The scene was fairly typical of all the other stops the bus had made that morning. The brake lights lit up, then the driver hit the amber wig-wags. Once again, the line of ten cars slowed and came to a stop as amber turned to red and the stop sign came out. But this stop was different. No father stood by the side of the road to see off his children. No mother was waiting to wave bye as the bus disappeared over the hill and into the early morning fog. Instead, it was just a lone teenage girl, struggling not only under the weight of an overloaded book bag, but also with the weight of a diaper bag and her young baby.
I’m assuming Wilkinson County has some sort of child care program for such situations. That’s the only reason I could figure that she would be taking an infant on the bus with her. And honestly, at first I was disgusted. Then I realized that regardless of the circumstances surrounding the conception, at least she hadn’t killed the baby. That would have been the easy way out. She hadn’t dropped out of school and thrown her dependence on the state for her wellbeing. No, she had gotten up at the required time, and had both of them ready for that (annoying) bus when it rolled to a stop at their driveway. Suddenly, I realized that she was trying to be a better parent that what she’d had.
Eventually the bus turned off the highway and took its load to Irwinton and the waiting schools and teachers. The caravan of vehicles who was sitting behind the bus accelerated as one mind and headed on into Milledgeville. As the cars behind me peeled off to hit the shortcut to the bypass, and then more cars left our little motorcade as we rolled through Central State, and then finally we rolled into downtown, my feelings went out for that girl who was faced with a responsibility far beyond her years. Sure, she was given that responsibility because of her own actions but she will have to deal with it for the rest of her life.