Her little face emotionless from anticipation of the unknown, she watched another school bus go by before asking me again.
Of course, we'd had an ice storm the night before this momentous occasion, and after forty five minutes she hung her little head and quietly requested alternate transportation.
"Mommy take Tova in da bwew car." The defeat in her voice was heartbreaking.
I barely made it there and back -- not for the ice, but for the fever beginning to overtake my body, where it would take up residence for the next four days. Kyle's school closed and he came home in enough time to pick her up from school since the roads were too ice-covered for the bus to make it up our hill safely.
The next morning, Kyle led her outside and waited with her once again as I watched from the window in the living room, partially collapsed on the couch due to the sheer effort of moving from my bedroom to that spot.
I wasn't going to miss this first of hers.
It was hard to explain to her, when she started preschool in Kiedis' old classroom, why she didn't get to ride the bus like he did. She didn't understand, and as it goes children probably shouldn't have to comprehend the idiosyncrasies of things like funding and IEPs and budgets and politics.
All she knew was going to school meant riding the bus, yet for some reason not for her.
I watched as they patiently waited for the bus to arrive, then her caution as one slowed and stopped in front of her. Kyle lifted her up onto the bottom stair of the open door, then followed her up into the bus to reassure her as the aide strapped her into what I knew to be a simple, five-point harness -- that she was safe, that this was okay.
This was the best Kyle could do in grabbing this moment, another first, as Tova played shy as she often does.
Then Kyle was off the bus and waving while it pulled away, taking my baby girl with it onto her own adventures and childhood experiences without me there to hold her hand, one more step in growing up that I didn't expect to hit me so hard until it was almost over.
And when she came home, she ran to find me in my bedroom and brightly yelled of her day's adventure.
"Mawm! Mawm I did it! I foun'da bus! I did it!"
Yes, my sweet girl, you did indeed.