Beating The School Bus Home


Yesterday at the supermarket checkout we were in a big hurry. We needed to be home in time to get our daughter Danielle off the school bus. We have gotten good at this race to get home as we have been running  it for years. Although Danielle is well into her teenage years it is still necessary to meet her when the bus drops her off from school. That is because she has autism and is unable to care for herself or be home alone.

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So in our house every school day one of us needs to be home at 2:15 to greet the bus. Yesterday was one of those near misses. The store was particularly crowded. We were doing our usual surveying of the available checkout lines to see which would move the fastest. Well, we thought that we had made the correct choice but boy were we ever wrong! The lady in front of us had a huge stack of coupons, the cashier ran out of tape and then the tape malfunctioned. This caused the cashier to put her blinking light on so someone would come to help her. Nervously, we glanced at the clock and could see how late it was getting. At one point we wondered if it would be necessary to abandon our groceries all together and dash home. It is times like these that we wish there was a checkout lane with a sign above it that said “This lane is reserved for special needs parents who are in a big hurry.” That would be nice!

The month of April is dedicated to promoting Autism Awareness. It is a time to highlight how autism continues to shape the lives of people affected by it, how far our children have come, but also the everyday challenges that parents of children with disabilities face such as beating the school bus home in time. Daily stresses like that can get to you and wear you down, even when some of the really big stuff has begun to stabilize and things are going better, at least for now. This is where faith comes in, and prayer.

Well, we made it home with our groceries with 10 minutes to spare. Too close for comfort, but we made it. So the next time you are in a checkout lane and you notice someone in line looking nervously at the clock, remember they may be in a hurry to beat the bus home too.

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Copyright 2016 David and Mercedes Rizzo.
All photos copyright 2016 David and Mercedes Rizzo. All rights reserved.


About Author

David and Mercedes write and speak from a faith perspective as parents of a child with autism. They are available to speak, and have appeared on radio and other media. Visit to learn more. Follow them on Facebook at Autism With The Rizzos. Authors of Praying For Your Special Needs Child, (Word Among Us Press) and Spiritually Able and The Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit (Loyola Press).


  1. What a powerful message. I will try the next time I am in line to be more aware of those around me and if possible, maybe I can give them my place in line.

  2. Great article! I run a different version of this race. My plan for the day can be busted by my son’s blood glucose reading. Yes, I check my phone before I leave the house to go somewhere, when I arrive in the parking lot, before I drive out of the parking lot and again the second I get home. This morning we were battling low blood sugar for HOURS and while a lot of that is “give juice and wait 15 minutes” I was not going to spend that time taking a shower because I needed to be more available. So the shower waited until blood sugar was stabilized.

    My point being: when you are a caregiver, there are things you have to be extra aware of. For each of us, that’s a different thing. I appreciate that you give us these glimpses into your world so that we will be more understanding of people in such situations. You never know the burden someone carries. You never know if the impatient person behind you in the checkout line has to get home to care for someone, or just doesn’t want their ice cream to melt, or has a TV show to catch. But it’s good to remember that it might be the former, and to extend that mercy to others.

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