Well, it was back in the saddle again yesterday morning at 6 AM - as a sub-driver, I never know what route I'm going to venture out on until I arrive in the barn. Today, it was a kindergarten route, ironically in the same area my former paper route was. It also included a new housing area that involves alot of one way streets and those new "round-about intersections" which I find highly annoying in a school bus. I'm usually never concerned as there ALWAYS is one student who finds their self-worth in sitting in the front of the bus letting me know that they can do this route turn-by-turn completely by heart... and believe me, I appreciate those "route brainsters" (as I call them) very, very much when I have 3 closely timed runs to do and 10 pages of turn-by-turns with addresses to read all while I drive. Today however, I realized "whoah... these are all kindergarteners who can't even see above the seats to look out the windows!"... I did make a few wrong turns mid-route and all of a sudden I hear behind me "hey old lady bus driver, we're going the wrong way" from the chubbiest, reddest-cheeked, runniest-nosed little guy I'd seen in a long time. And yes, you guessed it... he did indeed tell me turn-by-turn the entire rest of the route.... ahhhhh it never fails, even when they are only 5. I also had another first this morning after 29 yrs. of bus driving....at one stop there were 3 little kids....the first 2 got on and the 3rd who was a little girl all dressed in pink from head to toe looked at me with apprehension on her face, tears in her eyes and said as she started walking away "I forgot to kiss my mommy good-bye" - - - - I tried my usual sweetest-voiced "well honey you can kiss her hello when you get home today"... to which she just kept saying "no I need to go kiss my mommy goodbye".... to which I did the inevitable---watched her run away, shut the door and kept on driving the route. Guess that mommy better get her act together and make sure her darlin' gets that kiss in before she bundles her up and sets her out on the curb and goes back inside for her cup of morning brew.