You Know You’re Raising a Child in the City When . . .

A few weeks ago I picked up my oldest son from his art class.  I usually walk the half block from our house and we take our time discussing what he learned that day.  He shows me what he’s added to his latest canvas and shares with me some art-facts that are always new to me (did you know that Warhol had 25 cats all named Sam?).  I like the leisurely way our pick-up unfolds.

At his last class before the Christmas break, I had the opportunity to speed around and complete last minute shopping during his art time while my mother-in-law watched my younger two boys.  Just as the hour hand struck two o’clock, I pulled in front of the studio.  I couldn’t believe my luck:  a parking space facing the storefront.

If you don’t live in a city, let me explain.  Scoring a parking spot, right where you need to be, when you’re running late is like the perfect trifecta and only comes around as often as Haley’s Comet.

If you live in a city, I know that you virtually high-fiving me.  Thank you.

I rush past the ticket machine (because like any city dweller you never pay for parking when you’re doing an “in and out”) and greet my son with what could be described as madness.

“You can tell me all about it in the car.  We have to go quick!  I’ve got a parking spot!” 

He hastily gathered his things and we said another round of “happy holidays” to his teachers while bolting out of there.

That’s when I saw him.  His ten-speed bike was propped on its kickstand just a few feet from where he stood.   He leaned back from the front end of the car reading the numbers and letters of my license plate.  And across the back of his electric blue windbreaker in silver reflector lettering it read Toronto Parking Authority.

It’s true what they say:  He who has giveth can taketh away (or something to that effect).  The Parking Gods had turned their back on me.

But as it turned out, I was not so helpless.  I had the power of a five-year-old boy.  The five-year-old boy who cried out:

“Nooooooo!  Please don’t give us a ticket.  My mommy was just picking me up.  Please!  Please!  It’s Christmas!!!!”

And with a nod of his helmeted head and the spirit of Christmas in his heart, the officer in blue straddled his bike and was off.

Just like his first hair cut and his first day of school, I will always remember the first parking ticket he squirmed his way out of.


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