My favorite game that we played on the Addams Family tour bus was one called “Bus Dollar.” There was a large white pillowcase and each bus ride we could all take a dollar bill, write our name on it, and put it in the bag. A dollar was drawn and the winner got to keep the whole loot. The winner kept the bag for that week and drew a picture on the bag to symbolize something funny that happened in that city. You will be happy to know that momontour won 18$ in bus dollar and there is a horrible drawing of a guitar to symbolize our Martin Guitar Factory tour (I have many talents, but drawing ain’t one of em.)
Today Sam went back to “real school.” He boarded the bus for 7 th grade and I had a moment to ponder. My first thought was how in the hell do these other moms get fully dressed and have fabulous hair and makeup at 7 am. ( I arrived at the bus stop in my jammies without brushing my hair or teeth and without a bra on.)
My second thought was that Sam was back on a bus for school, except in a much different manner. This bus was filled with joking and laughter just like the tour bus (although I’m assuming none of the 7th graders were sporting a hangover or giggling about a hookup the night before. But kids these days are way more advanced than we were in the 80s so who knows.)
Being on tour was an education beyond compare. Besides the one-on-one relationship with his teacher, seeing the country up close is much better than just reading about it in a book. The museums and historical landmarks were unforgettable.
But being in a school setting also provides an education that you can’t get on a bus. The drama of fitting in, or finding friends, and how to navigate yourself in large group settings is something you wouldn’t find on a Broadway tour (unless you were in, like, Annie or Billy Elliott. To clarify: a show with lots of kids in it.) It was only 2 boys for 6 months and that was sometimes very difficult for both of them.
So, I guess the answer is that both buses took Sam to a type of school that is important, educational and difficult in its own way. I don’t think one is better than the other. I think they are both so incredibly powerful. Most things don’t seem real to me unless I see them up close.
Sam spent the last few weeks wondering what it would be like to go back. Would he stand out in a good way or bad? Honestly, I was more nervous than he was.
He got home today with a very large smile. Excited about his classes (he’s taking Mandarin!) and seeing familiar faces. (He also found it funny that half of the boys had grown and had deep voices and half stayed exactly the same.) Only time will tell if that smile stays or fades.
So, as I stood at school pickup I again pondered. First, was how it was that I never had time to shower all day while these other moms seem to have spent the day at some sort of glamorous photo shoots. How else to explain the beautiful hair, dresses and high stilletto heels they were wearing at 3:00 pm?
Second was what would I draw if I had the bus dollar bag today. Probably a smiley face. First, because that is all I can really draw. But mostly because I’m happy that Sam was happy today.
And that’s all we moms want for our kids. To learn to be happy every day. No matter where or how they learn it.