By Heather Barrow
My son Hill is in Kindergarten and was born two months prematurely after I spent two months on complete hospital bed rest. Today is the day Hill has been counting down to, and the day I have been dreading. It is the day he was going to board a bus with no seat belts for a three-hour round trip drive to Sea World with a bus driver I have never met.
When the field trip was announced, I said it was a wonderful idea, as long as there would be shoulder seat belts and plenty of chaperons. I offered up my husband Bennett’s services so one of us could be within striking distance of my baby. A couple of weeks ago we heard from his teacher they did not need chaperons, all of the buses with seat belts were unavailable and we could not drive Hill separately. Like many times before with Hill, I went into panic mode. I imagined the worst case scenario and how I could prevent it. What if the bus driver drove recklessly? Does he even have a valid driver’s license? What if it rained? God forbid, but what if they were involved in a bad accident?
My daughter Claire, usually quick to support anything involving Hill being restricted from fun, instead asked why I had never asked her teachers about seat belts for field trips. The only explanation I could come up with is that I approach risks more cautiously with Hill.
Bennett, as he usually does, went in to damage control/crisis prevention mode and started emailing articles on how safe buses are, and why they don’t need seat belts.
I don’t care which bus safety expert wrote the article. If a bus flips over and the children are not restrained, some if not all will be injured. I voiced my concerns to his teachers, and they did everything they could to reserve a bus with seat belts. They even tried to think of a way to bring something to buckle Hill in to the seat somehow (he was mortified.) Unfortunately, the bus company said it wasn’t possible. I reluctantly let him go today after a lot of begging from him and praying from me.
Then I received this photo from his teachers with a note saying that he was buckled in safe and sound. Their repeated requests with the bus company had paid off and they got a bus with seat belts!
I recognize I am overprotective of him and probably the only parent in Kindergarten emailing about seat belts. It takes a village to help raise a preemie with an overprotective mom. I am extremely thankful for how his school village, specifically his teachers Mrs. Paggio and Mrs. Perez, know every detail of Hill’s history, support us without judgment and agree my preemie is precious cargo;) Thank you Mrs. Paggio and Mrs. Perez. Congratulations, you have now been elected to be Hill’s teachers until he turns 18!