Confessions of a Jewish Mother–My daughter rode the bus

Now that I have claimed my identity as a Jewish Mother I am compelled to share my adventures in this arena of my life.

Today was a prime example. My 14-year-old daughter rode the bus all by herself for the first time today. For her, it was not a big deal. For me, it was monumental.

I am finding that  her blossoming busy schedule is coming in conflict with my generally robust line-up  of commitments quite often  lately and I just can’t be in two places at once.

I have resigned myself to the role of chauffeur rather than escort as my children reach adolescence (not to mention ATM machine.) But I cannot be at their beck and call every hour of the day. I do have a life of my own, you know.

Summer vacation brought a change in her schedule which added some conflicts with mine. We had to find a creative solution to get us each to different locations at the same time. Thus, the bus.

I often look back on the privileges my own parents afforded me and at what ages they were bestowed. My mother was pretty over-protective and I figure if she let me do it, then I should probably extend that opportunity to my own daughter.

I was allowed to take the bus from Buena Park, CA to Huntington Beach with my friends the summer before ninth grade in 1974.

Today I let her ride the bus to the local park where she is a Day Camp Jr. Counselor–15 whole minutes–so that I could attend my weekly meeting at the Rotary Club of Kapolei.

Like I said before, I was nervous. When I asked her what she was worried about, the only problem she foresaw was finding the right timing to pull the string to signal the driver to stop at her desired destination.

I told her that she was perfectly capable of handling the logistics. I gave her the printout from The Bus website that delineates her route. I reminded her that she is the one who usually navigates the airport when we are traveling on the mainland. She is usually the first to find the way to the ticket counter or baggage claim.

I told her that the thing that concerned me was, “Stranger danger.” This is when she reassured me.

“I’ve got my iPod for that,” she said.

That’s when I  knew it would be okay. My daughter would ride the bus to her volunteer job, she would ward off contact with any predators with her iPod headphones plugged snugly in her ears and she would pull the string at the right moment to disembark and cross the street and start her day.

I put bus fare on the counter, reminded her to text me when she arrived and went off to my meeting.

I won’t tell her that I checked my phone every few minutes until she got there. Or that I was tempted to text her and check on her progress, remind her to be safe or put on sunscreen. I simply waited for the words, “I’m here.” I replied, “Have fun” and relaxed to enjoy the rest of the meeting.

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