Riding the Short Bus

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.

21 thoughts on “Riding the Short Bus

  1. way to have a postive attitude!

    i almost wish i could have ridden the short bus. the long bus was a nightmare. and i rode it all the way through school, even as a senior because i didn’t have a car.

  2. “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.”

    Oh, I just loved that, Tracy. I feel for you, and wonder how far we are from possibly walking in your shoes. It gives me hope and courage when I watch you tread this unknown with so much grace.

  3. Fantastic perspective. You have given me pause on what stereotypes I might be (mostly unknowingly) perpetuating… I am happy for your family and this amazing opportunity to receive the assistance you all need. The short bus rocks!

  4. My son rides the short bus… and I too was one who made jokes. Perhaps there is something to that karma thing, eh?
    You’re right – the short bus is a reminder of hope. It’s a reminder that there are people, besides myself, who are ready to help my son. It’s a symbol of good things to come!

  5. The short bus. I’ve been living in a hole. I’ve never even heard that phrase. I knew about it, but have always just thought of it as a supportive transportation for those who need it. Neither a positive or a negative.

    I’m so happy that it’s such a positive for your family. May God give you a thousand more joys, short and long.

  6. Tracy, you have no idea how many times growing up that I wished I had ridden the short bus. The school bus was the hunting grounds of the worst of the worst bullies that I ever encountered (well that and the junior high PE locker room). I vividly remember one of my fellow passengers, a young man with Down Syndrome whom I had known from my years in 4-H, he was mainstreamed and took the regular bus and I still remember with tears in my eyes the agony that he was put through by the rotten kids that I rode with. I had the misfortune of having several years of bus drivers that were interested in being friends with kids more than they were in maintaining discipline and safety for all the riders. Your Bean is lucky to have such a great Mama…..and a school system who is looking out for him

  7. I want to clarify that comment: It was meant in sincerity, not sarcastically. I really do believe it’s fabulous that your boy is getting the education he needs!

  8. When I happen to be at the elem. school when the kids get on/off the “short” bus it makes my heart swell. They are all such sweet spirits and usually have such a great smile on their faces. One of the kids that does is in our Primary, he is 3 and the sweetest thing. I always say hi, though I know he won’t aknowledge me, he does hear me and just looks at me like why are you at my school and at church?
    I’m sure your son will have wonderful experiences associated with getting to ride the short bus.
    I say yes, get you that shirt!

  9. I am in the boat with Jami. I did not hear the term short bus until I was well into my 20’s and someone told me that I should have been on it and I had no idea what that meant. I do know that besides the awesome benefits that Beanie will have from this moment, the next best thing is that there will be more awareness in your home of how treating others with special needs are important and more so that feeling will be passed on. Can’t wait to hear Beanie’s story progress!

  10. Man, I have never heard this term before, but I can see where you are coming from. It is a blessing to have a Short Bus and definitely embrace the term and empower yourself and your family.

  11. Stunning. Simply stunning.

    My high school choir director had four severely mentally and handicapped children. One day he told a “handicapped joke” in the madrigal class, and one of the students reprimanded him with a “How can you of all people . . .?” line. I will never forget his response:

    “If you don’t laugh, you cry.”

    I thought of him (one of the best men I have ever known) as I read your post. Thank you.

    (His family’s story is discussed in the Sept 2002 Ensign, “In a Quiet House”. The url is enormous, so if you want to read it, go to lds.org. Do a search for “In a Quiet House”. It’s the first story on the list. Have plenty of Kleenex handy. He and his wife truly are wonderful people.)

  12. Welcome to my world!! We love the short bus too.

    I pray every day that my girls will find people to surround them that are much nicer than I was at their age. I have a lot to repent of.

    Yay Beanie!!!

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  14. thank you for sharing I found this after someone on my FB offended me by making a joke about the short bus, when I kindly tried to educate her, she deleted me off her FB and I have been totally perplexed all day as to how people don’t want to learn or be better people… one person at a time, I shared your blog on my wall maybe other’s can be touched as I was… My Son is Autistic…

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