This is our parking spot at Seb’s school. We always park here except when we don’t. Because sometimes we can’t. We are not the only folks who need this spot. But most of the other mom’s at Seb’s school park elsewhere so we can park there. It’s like an unspoken code: ‘your kid is in a wheelchair AND you’ve got a baby AND sometimes even a walker’. ie. you’ve got your hands full. When it was just Sebastian, I could park on the street if I had to and still get the wheelchair apart and into the back of the car. Less ideal, but possible.
Sebastian’s school is in the same building as a public library and municipal offices. Last year the offices took up most of the parking spaces in the lot next to the building with placards reminding everyone else that they could not park in their parking spot. For a school that serves kids of all different abilities, I was always surprised that there was only ONE disabled parking spot. After doing some investigation I learned that per city code and the size of the lot, only ONE spot is required. We also share the building with an Art group made up mostly of retirees. Sometimes one of them parks in ‘our’ spot. (And sometimes one of them waits for me to leave to park there, even when the spot right next to it is open. People are funny.)
When this happens I park in the back of the lot in a spot I’m not supposed to park in. I put a sign in my window next to our disabled parking sign that says ‘school pick up only, loading wheelchair/walker’. I hope it will deter the parking ticket guy. We also sometimes park in the back where the teachers park, if there’s an opening. And sometimes I have to parallel park in front of the empty, roped off spots the library is saving. For what I don’t know.
One pick up time recently I had to do just that. Once parked, I quickly got Tallula from the back and started to go inside. I passed our usual spot and noticed the car was sloppily parked AND did NOT have a disabled parking sticker. Not cool. Sometimes I write people notes. Today I was running late. But as I passed the car, the driver came out! What a perfect opportunity to tell her off. Which I did – politely – of course. She in turn apologized, using the excuse she was only stopping quickly. I said, ‘Yeah, it’s still not ok. My son uses a wheel chair. We need to use this space’. She then offered to hold my baby while I went inside to pick him up. Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the pavement lady. No thanks.
There is a reason we have a special sign in our window that allows us to park in places you can’t. I don’t use those spaces when Sebastian isn’t with me. Just like those mom’s who can, but don’t always need to, don’t park in the space at school. There’s the law and there’s an unspoken code. We don’t break it. Why do you?