What I nearly missed
A reminder to notice
by Jesuit Scholastic Garrett Gundlach, S.J., Arts ’09
“There’s no such thing as monotony when you’re a bus driver for kindergartners. I’m the 3 p.m. bus 5, packing three to a seat in the first two rows of my yellow school bus — squeals, laughter, tiny backpacks and all.”
Do you remember where I live? What about me? I hear the same questions all the way around town until almost everyone is home, the din falling to a whisper by the final neighborhood. I cue the flashing lights and call: “Braedon!” Nothing. I look in the mirror. Ah, not yet used to the full school day, he’s knocked out, asleep, in a full slump, drooling onto his Batman shirt. “Layla, can you wake him up?” Eyes back on the road, then back to Layla — her look is panicked. I can’t get him up! I make a three-point turn in front of his house, pull the parking brake, click out of my seatbelt, kneel beside him and cup his shoulder. “Braedon …” With a few sturdy shakes, he finally wakes, his eyes blinking, confused. Where am I? What time is it?
I smile. “You’re home.” He swipes at his drool with a wrist and hobbles down the bus stairs, bag dragging behind. I’m not sure whose role is more privileged here — to wake from a long day to a smile and Daddy waiting at the door, or to wake a loved child and tell him he’s home. I’d take the first again in a heartbeat. But these days, I’m a bus driver, so I count my blessings all my way home in the silence.
About the author
Jesuit Scholastic Garrett Gundlach, S.J., Arts ’09, teaches at Red Cloud High School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He also writes monthly for The Jesuit Post online newsletter. When invited to write a recurring column for Marquette Magazine, he proposed sharing personal moments about “where God speaks to me extraordinarily in the ordinary.”