From Grief to Giggling

Thursday June 27, 2019

Driving a schoolbus paid very little monetarily speaking and could at times be as stressful as rewarding...

I remember middle schoolers hurling hard candy at my head during the Christmas season while driving. I told them, while I appreciate the seasonal gesture... "I can't drive with you doing that." When that didn't work I parked in the middle of the street, rose to face them and began a long slow tedious speech... "so... who needs to get home to hockey practice... piano lessons? Game boy? Ballet? X-box?" Soon they were all elbowing each other and hissing; "Stop it or we'll never get home."

Then there was a kid named Mitchell who had lost half his leg to an illness and refused to use a wheelchair or even a crutch. I gave him whatfor one day for opening his window in December: "If that window freezes open that will be YOUR seat for the rest of winter!" His face lit up. Maybe for having been treated like a normal kid and not mollycoddled.

Another handicapped student with a shrill voice nearly took my neck off hugging me goodbye after school.

Years earlier I had been just torn with grief over losing my uterus to some medical reason I couldn't pronounce. That took away my ability to choose to have more children - not that I wanted more. It took away my only link to my first pregnancy - lost to a miscarriage and trip to the emergency room.

So ten years later in a different province I am sitting in my schoolbus doing a pre-trip and noted the passenger capacity on my paperwork: 72.

It dawned on me then that twice a day I could have 72 more kids! Without a pregnancy; swelled ankles, morning sickness, stretchmarks, or labour pains. I drove the route that day with a stupid grin on my face I think. Hopefully no one noticed...

Not that I would ever tell a woman unable to have children or sufffering miscarriage to go drive a bus or; "You can always adopt." I don't know why one feels so strongly compelled to "Say the right thing," to the bereaved. Grief is overwhelming at the time and those hurting need simplicity, comfort, and silence. A gentle touch and a listen, if anything.

Healing and timing was perfectly aligned for me to realize the bus capacity and relate the responsibility of my job to childbearing. With a giggle and memory of a time when I couldn't have imagined ever feeling this good again.


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