do you ever know something is wrong, but maybe not why or how it is wrong?
i knew the rules of the carpool line... i knew it was a huge pain in my rear end.
i knew that only 6 cars could fit in the actual pick up zone.
i knew that usually only 5 would make it in the zone before dismissal because that gray minivan would get there 30 minutes early and not pull up all the way.
i knew that it was best for me to park down the street and walk to the classroom door, thus avoiding the carpool line altogether.
i knew that if i didn't get to Caroline's school 10 minutes early that i'd be 5 minutes late to get across town to Julia's school.
i knew it every day for almost a year.
i knew (only very recently) that julia was on the autism spectrum.
i barely knew what autism was, only that it is not what i had previously assumed from movies and television.
i knew very little.
i knew that julia had an exceptionally hard time at dismissal if i wasn't one of the first to arrive.
i didn't know. my head was spinning with not knowing.
his son- the one with the life altering illness, unpredictable seizures, and exhausted, frightened parents- i was making the afternoon longer and more difficult for him, possibly threatening his health.
illegal parking aside... now i know the boy, and i know the how and why.
where we find out that they share special education teachers & therapy groups. where we discover that she holds his hand during their ABA circle time.
how if he can't park there, his son can't physically get onto the wheelchair lift.
why my taking that place hurts his family.
i'm just sorry.
i wish i could tell him how profoundly that interaction has affected me, and how changed i am because i met him, angry as he was.
how often i think of him and his son.
if i can blindly hurt someone else when all i was focused on helping my child...
if i can be the one making someone else's day that much harder...
i know i also need to be the one to take responsibility- "i'm so sorry. i know i was wrong. i won't do it again. please forgive me."
i know to have more patience when others do the same to me- "here's the how and the why of what just happened here. i know you didn't know. i forgive you."
i know to look up from my own need, my own circumstances- to consider those around me. to notice something other than myself. "i see you. i don't know what it's like in your life, but i would like to try."