Here I am, a mere three days into caring for my grands after school, and I already have a story.
I live on a street that apparently is something of a nightmare for a schoolbus since the street is narrow and winter only makes it worse; there's also an S curve. Bottom line is that the grandchildren can not be delivered directly to my home.
And, because I am unwilling to hang out on a corner a block down the street (pitbulls running amok, freezing temps, icy roads), it means that I must fetch them a little after three in the afternoon.
I tried the picking-them-up-in-
the-school-lobby thing on Monday and Tuesday. Have you been in a school lobby lately? (Imagine what it might be like! Talk about chaos and confusion. I don't know how anyone functions there.) I decided to request that the boys be dropped off at their own home not five minutes from school and I would pick them up there thus avoiding the entire school lobby scene.
Yesterday was my first day to get to their driveway; their home is even closer than the school; it would be so easy to receive them directly from the schoolbus. Fine. It should have been fine. I was more than fifteen minutes early after all.
Unfortunately, just as I reached the railroad crossing, the lights began to flash and a train blasted its horn and thus began my nightmare. The train stopped on the tracks doing goodness knows what. I was beside myself and praying most desperately for The Lord to allow the bus to be late, for the bus driver to recognize the crazy woman in the Impala with its blinking headlights or whatever it would have to be. I prayed more in that ten minutes of time than I have in weeks as the train fiddle-flipped back and forth, back and forth without ever clearing the crossing.
I was nearing a meltdown when I called John. He could access their home from the other side. His cell phone rang and rang and rang. No answer!
Praying, praying, looking beneath the train for signs of a bus on the other side. Plenty of pickle prayers going heavenward. Finally, finally, the train backed up to where it had been when it blew its horn in the first place. I gunned the car and got across those tracks with the RR lights still flashing red — don't mess with me, Mr. Engineer. You're not going to fiddle-flip around when I've got grandkids being dropped off over there. The baby grand is autistic. I'm going! You can not stop me!
I turned into the drive seconds later with nary a sign of a school bus on the horizon. I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving. I was safe. Safe! (Even if my heart was still pounding out of my chest.) I hopped out to pick up the spare booster seat and heard children's voices in the barn. With mounting horror, I realized that those voices belonged to my grands. My grands! They were in the barn!
They called out in their sweet sing-song voices, "We get out of school an hour earlier on Wednesdays."
What?! I truly thought I was going to faint. Keel over. They'd have to revive me with cold snow in my face. It was going to be awful.
Just when I was sinking down, I saw my daughter's face in the barn loft door. Thanks be to God! They had not been alone all that time!
The rest of the story:
Auntie was home having decided to take the day off. As she was fetching a bag of pellets in the barn, she heard the bus, looked out, and realized that it was just waiting so she ran down the drive and got the boys off the bus. If she had been upstairs in her apartment, there would not have been enough time to meet them at the bus. They were all happily playing basketball in the loft when I arrived.
Here I was praying that I'd be there in time for that bus and I was already over an hour late. (My son forgot to inform me of this entire Wednesday early dismissal thing. Yes, in fairness, he had mentioned it several weeks ago when we were first discussing the boys hanging out with me after school, but I am olden and need a reminder. The last thing I heard from him Tuesday night was to be there at 3:30.)
All that worry and suffering and God had everything under control all the time. He knew that the boys get out of school early on Wednesdays. He knew that I was going to forget. He knew that my son was going to forget to remind me. Auntie stayed home, which is highly unusual. She may think that she stayed home to study for a test. I think she stayed home because God wanted to keep the boys from feeling frightened.
(I am told that if no one had been home, the boys would not have been allowed off the bus. They would have continued on the bus route and been taken back to school where their mother (my daughter-in-law) would have been notified at work. They would have been fine. I, however, would have required an ambulance. ☺)