“You know someone might think you’re our mom!” one of the sixth graders I was walking with exclaimed.
“No creo,” I answered. I don’t think anyone can have this many kids all the same age.
In my walks to the bus this year, a little gaggle of girls have decided to adopt me. Three of them ride my bus (a 5th, 6th, and 7th grader) and two others ride a different bus nearby. I get hugs and millions of questions, walking buddies and cold-weather companions, and once, a free ride.
Last week we had an unseasonably warm day (faint memory with single digits this week), so I rode my bike to school. At the end of the day, I unlocked my bike and proceeded to walk over to the bus, catching up quickly to the gaggle of girls. Once we arrived, they turned from chatty to concerned. Was I not going to ride the bus with them? How would they be able to ask me questions? Who would listen to their detailed narratives of drama?
I acquiesced, turning to my bag to find my wallet. But it wasn’t there. I’d left it at home and hadn’t noticed because I hadn’t needed it all day.
They found this unacceptable.
“Puede utilizar mio,” the 7th grader stated insistently. The kids get leeway with some bus drivers and I could use her pass to get on the bus. Because of the kind of pass she has, I wouldn’t be spending her family’s money. With their eager faces peering up at me and the wind picking up, I relented.
My reward: beaming faces and a detailed description of their favorite Dominican foods on the ride home.