There are relatively few school buses here. Some high schools have them, but not everyone does and I don't think they are paid for with public funds. It's expected that kids will either walk to school or be driven. We definitely live too far to walk right now and so I do the school run.
Typically we arrive at school and have to park down the street a ways from the entrance. The kids really like to run ahead, but they all know that they *must* wait for me to catch up (I'm poky because I walk with Leila) before they can cross the street. The main section of side walk (or pavement as it is called here) is long-ish. So the Bigs are often standing around and waiting for the dawdler and I to catch up. They are typically fairly low-key, staring at all the interactions around them and taking it all in. Meanwhile, adults are streaming out of the school grounds having already dropped off their children.
On a recent morning, Elie, Isaac and Talia ran ahead quite fast. Leila and I were almost caught up to them, when a father of Talia's classmate stopped me and said, "I'm quite worried about those three on the corner. They look a bit sad and lost. I hope their mum catches up soon."
Because I'm not right in the head, I thought he was pulling my leg. He and I have spoken before and I thought for sure he would have recognized Talia in the group of three sad children. So I said, "Oh yeah, I'll bet she finds them soon." I wasn't being sarcastic, just a bit tounge in cheek.
Then I realized he was serious.
And I said, "Oh! Those three?" (Why did I say that? Of course he was talking about those three, they are the only three kids standing on the street corner!) "Uh, yeah. They're mine. I mean, I'm their mom."
Poor, poor man was so embarassed. He put his head down a bit and hurried away. I felt simply awful! A day or so later, I saw his wife and made mention of the whole situation. She and I had a laugh and I apologized profusely.
He hasn't spoken to me since.