Half day of school for the kids today because of the holiday. It was pouring rain and cold outside all day, so I met the school bus at the end of the driveway with the car after school so the kids wouldn't get soaked on the walk to the house, which is 100 yards or so. Petunia hopped off the bus and dashed to the car, with Thing Two close on her heels. I waited a few seconds for Thing One to follow, but he wasn't coming. He wasn't on the bus at all.
The driver said that she hadn't seen him after school and radioed back to school to see if anyone knew where he was. The transportation coordinator and parent pickup monitor hadn't seen him either, and I was really starting to worry at that point. Then she started trying to reach the receptionist in the main office, which took an additional few minutes--of course, during this whole time traffic was building up to a crazy level on the main road by our house in both directions, since the bus was still stopped with its flashing lights on. The driver finally got hold of the receptionist, who said that he was indeed in the office, and the bus drove on.
I was livid. The office couldn't call me? The KID couldn't call me?? This being the same kid who calls my cell phone about once every two weeks from the phone in his classroom when he forgets something at home or has a question during the day?
Turned out that he hadn't heard the bus announcements over the ruckus of the end of the holiday party in his classroom, and the bus was long gone by the time he got to the office after going out to look for it. He said that he had the phone in his hand to call home when the bus driver's call came into the office. After I got done yelling at him, I told him that it was only because he scared me to death and that I wouldn't have been so upset if I didn't love him so much. There's nothing like being told that nobody knows where your ten year-old is (on a day when any number of visitors were at school for class parties, with who knows what other intentions in mind) to put the fear of God into a parent, after all.
He now knows to call home immediately if he ever misses the bus again, and everything turned out fine. But I am not taking that for granted, and I am profoundly grateful for it.