“Is your name Maria?”
A very tall and very built police officer asked, after sauntering up to my parked (on the wrong side of the road) mini-van.
Thoroughly confused I just looked at him. My mind raced through all the reasons I would be getting a visit from a police officer; My car registration is out of date?… my car is parked on the wrong side of the road?… I am missing my front license plate?… my u-turn was illegal? Wait, who is Maria?
“No, I’m not Maria,” I finally voiced, registering the fact that I could not see his eyes behind his very dark sunglasses, and how unnerving this felt.
He looked at me in silence a few more minutes, then swung his head in the direction of my boys, who I had just sent off to play on the playground behind him. “Those your boys,” he asked, taking his time watching them.
“Yes,” I piped up suddenly, “We live in an apartment, and I bring them here to play where I can see them while my daughter does her homework. This way they aren’t bouncing all over her and I can help her out while making sure the boys are safe.”
Gratefully I stopped before offering our entire family history. He was looking at me again, with a half smile and expressionless dark sunglasses. “We got a call that a couple of young boys were abandoned here in this park. But sometimes the callers don’t stick around.” He stopped and just kept looking at me. Helplessly, I just nodded.
“Well, your plan seems to be a good one and it seems like it is working well. Have a nice day.” And with that he turned and walked back to his car as I murmured “you too,” at his back.
I couldn’t help laughing. We’d only arrived a total of 15 minutes ago, counting the five minute interaction with my friendly police officer. My van was parked on the wrong side of the street so that my toddler could easily climb in and out on his side without going into the street. Both his door and my door were wide open, and I was hanging out of mine with the hope of catching some sun on my albino NW white legs. The boys had been running back and forth between me and the park for sips of water since we’d arrived… Yet someone had called in, concerned that they were abandoned?
I have been the mommy-recipient of scathing looks from passers-by as my boys ran ecstatically through mud puddles in the rain, while my daughter and I huddled in the car going over her spelling words…
I have been the mom who startled other mothers in the park by yelling out my open car window at my toddler to stop hitting his older brother in the head with sticks, and then corrected my daughter’s misspelled word in the same breath… and probably at the same volume….
I have been the mom who occasionally read a few lines in a magazine while my daughter did her math problems, thereby taking my eyes off the playground and missing the details of how my son fell and got the huge welt that the other mothers are so concerned about…
And I will even admit that I have been the mom who looked the other way, praying like crazy that no one else would pass by, while her son found a shady tree to substitute for the toilet, his bare buns glowing white within a 3 mile radius and a few weeds getting a good watering…
But never before today have I been the mom who had the policed called on her for abandoning her boys at the park.