Rene is an independent traveller. Well, not yet. Soon. Maybe. Definitely. Whatever.
I’ve been trying to cut the apron strings for the longest time upon the advice of his teachers.
But I just cannot seem to do it. Out of fear.
Fear that he’ll get lost. Fear that he’ll fall asleep and miss his stop. Fear that he might get waylaid by strangers to who knows where and do who knows what to him. Stop it, Joy! You’re scaring yourself.
I did try to train him earlier in the year.
I thought of a way whereby I will still be with him and yet he will still have the independence to travel in a public bus. I explained The Plan to him while we were at home. He nodded and said okay.
At the bus stop I told him that I’ll be right behind him. I’ll only be a couple of meters away. He just had to pretend I wasn’t there.
The bus arrived. He glanced back at me.
I signalled to him to flag down the bus. He just stared at me. (So much for pretending.)
I boarded the bus as well behind a few others.
He climbed the steps to the upper deck.
So did I.
He sat down.
I glanced at him and gave a reassuring smile.
He looked petrified. Oh man.
I sat across the aisle and two seats behind.
Soon the bus started to fill up. A schoolgirl sat next to him. He glanced at me.
Then he started coughing. Maybe something scratchy in his throat.
What is happening to him?
I saw him open his school bag, pull out something red and started coughing again.
That something was a plastic bag and he wasn’t coughing. He was hurling. He was so petrified he started throwing up! And I have NO idea why he happen to have a plastic bag in his school bag at the most convenient time.
The girl who sat next to him stood up. Either she knew what was going on or she had to alight. Whatever.
I sat next to him and held the plastic bag while he “coughed” into it. Not much came out. I thought-if he’s acting, he is very good at it.
We rode out the rest of the trip sitting side by side. I was a little frustrated and he was subdued.
When we alighted he hurled more “nothing” by the roadside before crossing. I asked him whether he wanted to go home. He said no.
I chaperoned him all the way to the school gate and gave him a kiss and said, “Bye.”
I thought that was the end of it. Nope.
When I returned to fetch him, a school staff told me Rene was in the sick room. He threw up a couple of times in the morning. Oh man!
When I saw him he looked pale and definitely not his usual self. What happened? I thought you said you’ll be fine. Are you okay now? He smiled wanly.
Then a thought came to me–he probably thought he was going home by himself as well because I forgot to tell him I would be fetching him after school! No wonder he was hurling…
We took a cab home.
A couple of days later, I related the incident to a friend and she told me initially she was worrying about independent travelling as well. She trained her child gradually whereby her child would take the bus by herself and they’d meet at a certain point and from there go home together. Eventually, the child volunteered to take the whole trip by herself. And she’s doing it now. My friend just waits for her at home.
I resolved to do the same with Rene. For now he’s not ready yet.
But I do ask him once in a while, “D’you wanna take the bus by yourself?”
He would just smile. But the other day, I asked him again and suggested–since there are only a few weeks left before the school holidays, “Maybe next year?”
“Next year…” he answered hesitantly.
I have a feeling even when next year comes I’ll still be asking him whether he’s ready. Oh well. See how it goes.
God does not force us to do anything. He merely gives us guidance. It is up to us when and how we create our reality.
Guide our children to know their Power Within and thereafter release them into the world to seek their own Truth.