If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed my very politically correct rants about the parking at my children’s school.
It can be a bloody madhouse some days, to qualify I must say the school does their best and on most days the majority of drivers exercise caution. To date neither our vehicles nor the children have been harmed and let’s be realistic, most non-bused schools are a mad house at 3pm.
I happen to have a handicap parking permit, I have had one for well over a year now and there are days when I have to use it. As Fabulous as I look outwardly I live with chronic pain and my exhaustion levels can be extremely high. It doesn’t matter why I have one, the point is my physician suggested it, I applied and the MTO gave me one.
So I was high-fiving myself when I found one of the many handicap spots available the other day; usually I’m rushing out of the door and arrive too late to get one. Normally I do the drive around the block until my slower-than-molasses girls emerge from their institute of learning…..long after the parking lot begins to empty.
As I sat there an SUV parked perpendicularly in front of me, blocking me in. Two women got out and went into the school. It was no biggie, one of the mom also has a permit and she’s usually in and out quickly so I got comfy with Twitter for my wait.
My girls came out in their normal leisurely fashion, stopping to see anything shiny along the way. We sat for another 10 minutes and finally the woman and her crew came back.
I had been talking to my niece and had my window down still, I realized this person who we will call “Red-in-the-face-Mom” was speaking to me.
was all I heard before I waved her off with a smile saying “No worries, I don’t mind waiting at all”
oh wait, what is she saying?
“I’ve reported you to the principal, you make me sick and I’m sick of telling you EVERY day about this!…”
I can’t type everything she said because frankly I can’t remember it all but she was enraged and slapped me repeatedly upside the head with her verbal diarrhea.
The gist of it is that her child is the one in need of the handicap parking permit and she can “never” get a handicapped parking spot. She berated me for not have a sticker and stated that she’d told me numerous times and she’s sick of it and of me!
Huh, all of this in front of her children and mine….
Somehow I remained calm and told her I didn’t mind being blocked in, I’m sorry she was frustrated and gently pointed out that I do indeed have a sticker and she hadn’t spoken to me about this before.
I reminded her she knows me, our kids are in class together and that I adore her son and would have gladly moved if I realized her challenge.
She couldn’t hear me.
She was lost in a rage.
There I sat with both of my girls in the car with me, blocked in with Red-in-the-face-Mom pouring out all of her stress onto me.
I didn’t freak out, I didn’t let her know that she’s not the only person in the world with challenges or step out of my Happy Bubble to engage.
Believe me a part of me wanted to.
Her friend finally directed her to get her child into the vehicle and came to me and tried to explain to me that Red-in-the-face-Mom had been talking to others who didn’t have a permit in the past.
My response: Listen, I don’t mind being blocked in, I would have moved if asked but nobody, nobody has a free pass to beat the proverbial crap out of me for parking when I’m legally allowed…certainly not in front of my children.
I suggested that once Red-in-the-face-Mom calmed down her friend might want to suggest applying for a designated parking spot for her son (if there is such a thing) and that I’d be open to an apology.
With that I wound up the window and proceeded to answer my children’s questions and explain why we didn’t need to phone the police on that crazy woman…and don’t call her a crazy woman, and no don’t hate her son tomorrow in class, that wouldn’t be kind……
Suffice it to say it took them an additional 7 minutes of getting in and out of the vehicle (with no real reason apparent to me) to move the SUV out of my way.
There’s the situation as it was from my perspective, my point in writing isn’t actually about the woman’s wild rantings but about my reaction.
I didn’t throw down, didn’t cuss her out, didn’t get all holier than though…..
I breathed through it….asked myself what has hurt her so badly that day….and remained calm.
Hurt People Hurt People
That my friends is progress and I thank God that He’s working on me!
I hope I’ll be able to continue this behavior, trying to see people more in the light that God would and hold back my natural instinct to react.
The only way I will be able to is to stay sober, keep taking action to improve myself and strengthen my relationship with God.
AA 24 Hour a Day Book
I will come to God in faith and He will give me a new way of life. This new way of life will alter my whole existence, the words I speak, and the influence I have. They will spring from the life within me. I see how important is the work of a person who has this new way of life. The words and the example of such a person can have a wide influence for good in the world.
Colossians 3: 15-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Wow! I would have had a hard time not screaming back at her. You did the right thing, even though i bet it was tough
I am so impressed with you. I know for sure, I would not have kept it together as well as you. Although, I will admit I tend to turn the other cheek much better when my children are watching.
whoa, that is crazy (even if it’s not nice to call her a crazy lady! lol) good for you for staying calm. it clearly didn’t matter what you said, she was going to go off.
AnnMarie Brown says
I think you handled the situation wonderfully!
Hopefully her day got better and she will give you an apology!
mamawee (ashley picco) says
While I do think that she was wrong for attacking you, I am wondering why you needed to use the space if you weren’t getting out of the car?
When I arrived this was the ONLY spot open so I took it….again, I have the legal right to do so. I don’t quite understand the question….but thanks for commenting
Way to keep your cool! But I like that you still put yourself in that mom’s shoes rather than lash back at her. She obviously just needed to blow off steam and you did the healthiest thing by not engaging with her.
Multi-Testing Mommy says
Good for you for remaining calm! We all must remember that although there are *some* people who take advantage of things like handicapped spaces that the majority of people wouldn’t do that so if someone is using one, there is likely a legit reason for it! Some people can really get wired up about things and forget that we are all human! Hugs and I’m sorry you had to deal with one of those people :(
Tammy B says
Way to go Julie!! Staying calm. This isn’t something that should happen in front of children. You had every right to park in the handicap spot. Too bad she didn’t look before saying what she did. This happens quite a bit at the malls. The spots designed for parents with children/mothers to be are rarely used by the ones it is designated for and used by the ones who are just to lazy to walk across the parking lot!!
Not sure I would have remained so calm. Kudos to you for setting a good example for your girls
Paula Schuck says
We have a pass too, for myself and one of my daughters. Chronic pain for me and special needs daughter who runs etc. so I am always super hyper vigilant about looking like we are all okay even though we have a parking pass. I totally applaud you for your zen approach to her meltdown. Wasn’t sure if she is parent of child with special needs or her friend was the person. Anyways no matter . I for one cut all parents of kids with special needs a country sized space bubble of slack. Parenting a special needs child is very hard. That is the single greatest understatement I have made this year.
Good job! Stay calm. Your kids are likely very tolerant and compassionate as mine are because of their life experiences.