Monday, September 26, 2005

The first day of Kindergarten

August 31, was the first day of school. My 5 year old starts kindergarten this year. August 31, was also 2 days after New Orleans flooded and thousands of people were stranded on roof tops. We stood in the rain as the remnants of Katrina passed through, and waited for the bus.

Getting on the bus was not as smooth as one would have liked, of course, given the rain, it should not have been a surprise. The scene, me 8 months pregnant and my 5 year old, all 42 lbs and 45" of him kicking a screaming that he would not get on the bus. "I don't want to go to school," he screamed has he held on to the bus door.

I looked at the bus driver desperately for some guidance. How do I get this kid on the bus? She wasn't helpful, so I finally decided to drive him. At which point, he decided to get on the bus, and then was mad that I was walking back home without giving him a hug.

The parallel to Katrina is this, that very same day several mothers made the decision to put their children in a helicopter basket. A 6 year old and his 5 month old sister along with 5 other toddlers where taken from a roof top, because there was not enough room for the adults, the pilot promised to come right back. Imagine having to make the decision, to put your small children on a helicopter alone. Think about time passing, minutes into hours, days into nights, when finally 3 days later you are rescued. What did these parents think about? I can only imagine the horror.

The kids were dropped at the Superdome. No one took charge of them, and they were found wandering around in downtown New Orleans 3 days after the Superdome had been evacuated. These children spent 5 days alone, with the 6 year old in charge. Would my kindergartener, who was scared to get on the bus take care of his little brother and his cousins? The story has a happy ending and the children were well and reunited with their families.

What would you do in a similar situation?

As for Kindergarten it goes well. More on that next time!