All you have to do is Google “short bus” to be overwhelmed by the (often unkind, sometimes funny) cultural references and jokes having to do with riding the little bus. I’m of mixed mind how to handle the inevitable cracks, jokes and ignorant remarks- and I’m forced to admit I made jokes about the little bus when I was younger. Ick. Facing your own history is mighty uncomfortable sometimes.

This morning, I put my son on the short bus for the first time. He was glowing with happiness and delighted to be going to school. His backpack strapped on, his hood up and sporting his tight girl jeans-  he clearly felt like such a big kid. You could see the happiness and pride as he climbed the stairs of that bright yellow bus. The ladies in charge welcomed him by name, and he posed for a quick picture, smiling brightly. Blinking hard so my tears didn’t blur the lens, I clicked the picture, and the nice ladies helped him to his seat.

My tears were tears of happiness and joy for my son. What a blessing that a special education is available to him- what a blessing his team of amazing and dedicated teachers are going to be in our lives. So much fun and learning await him in the AIM classrooms this year. I am overflowing with happiness and hope for my son, and am so eager to see how this program helps him be a happier and more confident child.

Today, and I suspect from now on, I love the Short Bus. The Short Bus reminds me of hope, and help and support- of acceptance and love for kids who are wired a little bit differently than other people.

The image above is from a sweatshirt I can order from a website with kitchy joke merchandise. I know they mean it as a joke, but I’m thinking really hard about embracing the stereotype and making it our own, on my terms. I just may buy one of those sweatshirts. For me. If I take the sting from the “jokes” by embracing them, maybe I can change what “riding the short bus” means. It’s already changed in my life. Riding the short bus rocks.

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