This is Tyarah. One of the girls from foster care. Very polite and generally very well behaved.
Here is Jaycene, from the same foster home as Tyarah. I don't know if they are related or not. Jaycene was generally very well behaved, but definitely seemed to have a lot more anger issues than Tyarah. Some days I would find out she had been sent home from school earlier, so she would not be on the bus on the way home.
This is the impish Tyrell, also in the same foster home as Tyarah and Jaycene. He has a glint in his eye and sports a huge grin. He always wanted to be the first one on the bus and sit in the first seat directly behind me. One day a week before school was over, I noticed as I was pulling up to their stop that he had pushed in front of Tyarah, who was first in line. When I pulled up, I opened the door and informed Tyrell that he had to get on the bus last because of his pushing. He took off running, stopped, and contemplated not getting on the bus at all. Deciding it was in his best interest to get on the bus, he came past me and informed me that "he was done riding this bus". I amiably told him "alright" and went on my way. When he got on the bus the next morning, I couldn't help but remind him of what he had said about "being done riding the bus", to which he replied, "Nah. I was just kidding." I really, really love this boy.
Nicholas was one of the nicest boys I've ever met. He quite often had a hard time sitting still and I often reminded him to sit down. I realized early on, however, that he never meant it defiantly. He just kept forgetting. He was always kind to me. He engaged me in conversation, asked me about myself, said thank you on a regular basis. A wonderful boy.
Riley is my pre-kindergartner that is also a great kid. He is so cute with really long eyelashes. Quite often he would sit with Hannah, especially if I suspected he might fall asleep. My sweet girlie would keep an eye on him to make sure that he wouldn't fall off of the seat.
Tristan and Kaden were two of the best behaved boys of all time. Wonderful, polite kids with a great mom, who was always waiting for them at their stop, always polite to me, always waved goodbye. They obviously learned their good manners from her.
And perhaps my favourite kid of all is Austin (pictured below). I really can't help myself. He's in grade six and lives with his grandma. After riding the entire year with him, I have realized how many issues he has. I've seen his anger displayed - not directed at me - where I actually had to call the vice principal to come and help me get him to sit in a seat because he was just standing on the steps, not moving, staring into space. This only happened once this severe, but on most days he was a truly remarkable kid. He chatted with me, told me about his life. Spoke so kindly and highly of his wonderful grandma. Cried when a bully said something nasty about his beloved grandma - which sealed his endearment in my heart. I see him as having so much potential if he can work through his anger issues.
The reason I'm a little emotional about all of this is because I just found out a couple of weeks ago that I will not be doing this bus run next year. I thought all along that I would be back and would get to see some of these kids again. However, I was given first choice of doing the run right around my house, which cuts my bus time in one-third (for the same pay). For the sake of time, and the fact that I will be starting to homeschool Seth next year, I really couldn't turn it down. Instead of being on the bus an hour and a quarter in the morning and again in the afternoon, I'll be on 20-30 minutes each time. I also realized that I couldn't make a decision based on how much I would miss some of the kids because I have no idea how many would even still be going to that school. In the course of my run last year, I must have lost 50 kids because they moved away.
Perhaps, if I'm fortunate enough, some of these kids might move into the school district that I am now in and again end up on my bus. One can always pray.
So, I leave with emotion. These kids meant a lot to me. I've shared some of their stories and their ups and downs. But, I can always still pray for them. After all, they belong to the Master, who loves them more than I ever could.And so, farewell.