This is the 2nd week my 15yr old son has been taking the bus home from Summer Weight/Conditioning camp for football at his school. The four week camp started the week of June 6th and is from 7am to about 9:30am.
Liz gets him there at 7am but since its tough for either of us to leave mid-morning to go get him and take him home, we opted for Joaquin to take the bus home.
When we told Joaquin of the plan, he calmly replied, “Okay, Nana taught me how to ride the bus.”
See, his Nana (God rest her soul) used the San Antonio VIA bus system as her primary method of transportation. My Mom was very proud to state she could get anywhere “en el bos.”
To downtown to pay bills, make a deposit, run errands and even attend special events. Even though most of the time we’d go get her – if we couldn’t, she’d take the bus. She was the master of bus routes and schedules.
There were very few places my Mom couldn’t get to via…VIA.
She even did the “tourist thing” once by taking him downtown to the river and paying an un-godly amount of money for a picture of her and him.
See the photo? She loved going places with “her Joaquinni.”
When we did go pick Mom up, she would ride in front and with her big purse on her lap, I could see her scanning the corners for bus stops and numbers.
“Ah mira, hay es el quiñentos dos!” she would say…making a mental note in her head for future reference.
And once while riding to our hew home, she made it a point to tell me that no buses ran by our house but that she could still make it by walking “un poquito.”
So the Sunday before Joaquin was to take the bus, Liz began preparing him by looking up bus routes/schedules and times. After they had mapped out his route, they jumped in the car and did drive-bys of the bus stops so he could familiarize himself with their locations.
He’d have to walk about 2 blocks from school to the 1st bus stop, then end up at North Star Mall. From there he’d take the 502 (quiñentos dos) north to Thousand Oaks and get off at Jonesmaltsberger and Thousand Oaks by the AutoZone. Then he’d walk a mile to our home.
Liz then got him a bus pass and it was up to Dad to get a lanyard and plastic badge/sleeve for him to carry…or rather not to lose. Funny, I never really took the bus when I was Joaquin’s age. And no, I didn’t drive, I basically walked everywhere.
He’s doing great, texting us at each point of his journey – texting seems to be the preferred method of communication for teens.
He’s also had some interesting stories to tell as well. The woman who suddenly burst out in song at the bus stop, the creepy, smelly homeless guy that was following him home (or so he thought) and missing the first bus then having to wait an hour for the next one.
But Joaquin has handled this new mode in stride. I attribute this to the important knowledge bestowed upon him by his loving Nana, the patron Saint of VIA buses. Once while driving, I took the opportunity to tell him what to do if he was late to the bus stop but he quietly reassured me by saying,
“Dad, I know what to do, Nana would make me run to stop the bus until she caught up.”
It made me smile envisioning my Mom telling her 8yr old grandson to run up ahead and stop the bus. While keeping a watchful eye on him, she would then loop her big purse around her shoulder and began to run (or rather power walk) towards the bus stop my son was already at.
“Adalé correlé Joaquinni! Pesca el bos para Nana…y ten cuidado!”
I know most kids are probably already doing this type of thing but as a parent, I never get used to my kids growing up.
I wish there was a way to actually create a medallion (other than in Photoshop) for my son to wear. Nana would be “even prouder” of her grandson…as I am.