Like a mother scorned. And I was scorned today.
It’s one thing to just scorn me. But to scorn me regarding my children, in this case Soren, will not be tolerated.
Soren and I were dropping Moira off at camp this morning. This summer she is attending Camp with swimming every day at an aquatic center. My goal for her this summer is to have her water safe. It was my first time dropping her off. Aaron has been dropping her off since she started. But he had to get into work early. So it was a big deal to Moira that mommy was dropping her off instead of daddy.
I have a handicap placard because of Soren. It comes in handy when the parking is really narrow and I need to get him into his stroller, which is large and heavy. We are actually working on having our minivan reoutfitted removing the captain’s chair that came with the van leaving a space for his stroller (and eventually his wheelchair). Also we will have a ramp to just wheel him in and out.
So I parked in the handicap parking. I hefted Soren’s stroller out, loaded him up, and the three of us headed in to camp. That’s when this older man in swim trunks with a towel around his neck, asked me if I could answer something for him. “Sure!” I said, wide-eyed and happy to oblige.
“What makes it so that YOU can park in a handicap spot?” he asked in a bitter, accusatory tone.
A little taken aback I answered, “Because I have a disabled child.”
He looked at Soren’s stroller scornfully. “In that?” Soren’s stroller is often mistaken for the more expensive strollers on the market these days. And it is expensive. It was $1,700. Even a Bugaboo doesn’t cost that much.
My heart was pounding now. I couldn’t believe this man was confronting me at 8 am in front of my kids when I was taking my daughter to camp. But I hate for anyone to accuse me falsely. Especially in this situation. “Yes, in this,” I responded. “He has a severe form of epilepsy, is 2 ½ years old, and can’t walk,” I said.
“Sounds fishy to me,” he said as he turned his back and walked away. A total coward, picking a fight and then running away.
“And you’re a jerk!” I shouted. I will admit, it was a weak comeback. I wanted to call him an asshole, but Moira and other children were around. “You have no idea what my life is like!” I continued. But he was on way to swim.
So now I was flustered, tears in my eyes, and I still had to get Moira into camp. I dropped her off, still livid. Thinking of the million other things I could have or should have said. And as Soren and I left, we crossed paths with him again. And, being me, I refused to let this go. Though I was still polite (or wimpy).
“May I please tell you my son’s situation before you walk off?” I asked, desperately wanting to inform him that I’m not trying to cheat the system with my handicap placard. I mean, I'm not trying to pull a Paris Hilton.
“My son wears leg braces,” which Soren was wearing. “He cannot walk, talk, crawl, or feed himself and he may never will. This stroller is actually a wheelchair. And I’m sorry if you’re offended that I have a handicap placard, but I am 5 feet tall, this is a heavy chair, and he is a heavy boy.” Which is all the truth and on the up and up. I’ve ended up having to see the chiropractor because I keep tweaking my back carrying Soren around. Currently the placard is for Soren. But if I’m not careful, it will be for me.
He was still a little gruff with me, but began to back down. He explained that he has trouble with his legs; he’s in a lot of pain. His legs did look scarred up and rather spindly for such a tall, stocky man. I could see from his face that he was in pain.
I told him I appreciated that he was going to have to live with his pain for the rest of his life. But I was going to have to live with Soren’s situation for the rest of mine. And that meant that after I died, for all I knew, Soren would have to be in a home. Soren’s disability permitted him to the placard. And, thus, I got the placard.
By now I was in tears and he REALLY wanted to get away from me. He tried to apologize by brushing me off, but I wouldn’t let him off the hook. I told him that his accusations really upset me. Especially considering Soren’s situation, which he had NO idea about. I was freaking him out all the more. He made his final stab to get out. “Oh, he’ll be fine because he has you for a mother,” he said in attempt to make it all right. But he was really just trying to escape again. F’in’ coward.
My real point here is that he should have known better than to mess with a parent in regards to their child, disabled or not. I’ve found that people will take all sorts of shit when it’s just about them. Their boss can treat them like crap, their friends can backstab them, their family can be lame. People will tolerate all that.
But don’t go talking trash about someone’s kids. It's best to step back. Especially when stirring up the wrath of mom.