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The Secret to ‘Thank You Mom’ When We See a School Bus - Mary Donellan

The Secret to ‘Thank You Mom’ When We See a School Bus


Homeschooling mothers are today’s heroines. Mary Donellan, shares a School Bus tradition in a heart-felt tribute to her mother and all homeschooling moms.

“Thank you, Mom!” we chorus from our respective seats in the minivan as we rumble through our small hometown on a colorful spring afternoon.

Well, actually it’s not quite a chorus. It’s more like a miscuing choir.

The first kid to spy The Thing out our slightly dirty van window proclaims a slightly triumphant thank-you-Mom (as in, “I saw it first!”), and one by one the rest of us fall in behind him in uneven rhythm.

So the sound that actually hits our poor mother’s eardrums is more like “Thank you Mo—thank you mo—thank you mooom.”

Our Little Tradition

You ask: what’s The Thing Out the Window inspiring these declarations of our gratitude?

It’s big. It’s yellow. It’s flashing.

Yes, it’s the famed Vehicle from Another World, that Mysterious Cruising Ship of Public Education . . . the School Bus.

At each sighting of these landmarks-on-wheels, we shout, “Thank you, Mom!”

This is our little tradition. I’m not sure how it began or who began it.

That fact is lost in the misty haze of earlier homeschooling years.

But it’s nevertheless survived culling from our clan’s manifold little customs, and it exists to this day.

We thank our mother each and every time we see a school bus.

Now, I’ll admit it gets interesting when we drive by a public school parking lot just before dismissal. I once counted thirty-one hyper “Thank yous!” rapidly ejected from my brother’s grinning mouth, machine-gun style.

But numbers don’t stop us.

We thank her every time . . . because she has more than earned it.

And so have you, dear homeschooling mom. Through your heroic love and service, you’ve earned a litany of profound thank yous.

So, immerse yourself in my family tradition for a moment, and pretend you’re driving past three big school buses, all in a row . . .

You Keep Us With You

Thank you Mom!

Thank you, because you refuse to send us into the unchartered, often untrustworthy realm of the School Bus and all that lies beyond the neighborhood curb on a weekday morning.

You don’t push us out of the comforting and empowering shelter of your presence when we need you most (even if, admittedly, we don’t realize it sometimes).

You never subject us to the conversations, exposures, and atmospheres that would be destructive to our spiritual and physical well-being.

Rather, you keep us with you.

Of course, you open the blinds and gather us sleepyheads into the kitchen for breakfast on these school mornings like any other mom. But you do it, fully aware that our joyous but chaotic presence is only the beginning of your day, no matter how tired or overwhelmed you are.

And that’s what makes you a heroine.

You Embrace Your Vocation

Thank you Mom!

Thank you for sacrificing what the world says is important for you. Thank you for embracing your hidden, difficult, grace-filled vocation.

Thank you for living in our home, a place where makeup-less days, spit-up accidents, tearful math lessons, dirty boys smilingly carrying insects inside from the yard, and no easy dinner plan in sight are often involved.

You are becoming a hidden saint while we, your children, throw ever-new challenges, sorrows, and joys at you like a hundred whizzing baseballs for you to catch all at once.

But you’re a brilliant catcher. Everyone should learn from you.

You Teach Us How to Love

Thank you, Mom!

Thank you for educating our minds and cultivating our souls.

Your hands are the hands God designed for this formation; your heart is the heart we most need. You love us more than we can imagine; you give us countless gifts we never realize or see.

Thank you for claiming our home as a school of virtue and claiming us from the world as children of God.

Thank you for perceiving the world as the battlefield it truly is and training us to be soldiers for His kingdom through the mundane and ordinary school day, when you could be out building a lucrative career or enjoying more relaxing pleasures.

You embrace the difficult way of life because it is the best way. You teach us how to love in faithfulness, generosity, and compassion.

Our flaws are always overshadowed by the noble daily sacrifice of love you make for us.

In closing, dear homeschooling mom, I give you a challenge: every time you pass a flashing yellow school bus (while you drive a minivan full of your noisy, messy kids), let it be a reminder of all you have given in love, and all the holy treasure you will one day receive.

Header photo CC: Adobe Stock:  Stuart Monk

About Mary Donellan

Mary Donellan
Mary Donellan is a mercifully blessed homeschool graduate who lives among gorgeous Southern foothills and winding country roads. She spends her hours humming in the laundry room, cherishing her loved ones, reading voraciously, soaking in music, and adoring her Lord at Latin Mass.

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