I remember the day that I asked my primary care physician about a parking placard. I had actually had one before, temporarily, when I was pregnant and still working. I remember when I got to my car and looked at the form she filled out, I burst into tears when I saw that the box for PERMANENT was checked. It was just yet another reminder that this was not going away.

It happened again when I went to the DMV to get the placard. I’m sure the lady thought I was crazy…or who knows, maybe she understood the significance of what she handed over to me that day. But I didn’t even wait until I left. Before the thing even hit my hand, I started crying and I walked (very slowly) out of there in silence. If I had been able, I would have preferred to knock that thing out of her hand and RUN out of there.

However, I’d now be (as my kids would put it) a liar, liar pants on fire if I didn’t freely admit loving the perk of a good parking place.

Sure, I wish I didn’t need it, but having a close parking space often means I am close enough to be able to walk, at my slower pace, without having to use supplemental oxygen. And in the cases where I need to use it anyway, it is comforting to know that if I’m running low or something happens with the tank, a new tank is as close as it could be. Sure, I appreciate the fact — after getting totally exhausted and barely able to continue pushing my shopping cart at the end of getting groceries— that that my car is as close to that check out line as possible. Some days walking into the grocery store wouldn’t be that difficult from a distance, but I’ve yet to think that coming out!

But let’s go beyond my being grateful for the space due to my medical needs. It is more than that. It has turned into one of my silver linings. Any mother of three small kids will understand what a blessing it is to not have to traipse across busy, dangerous parking lots. Who doesn’t relish going out of a busy night and scoring a close spot to their destination. I’m now a “ski mom” and I feel so badly for the other moms, trying to get kid and their equipment up to the mountain, with or without others in tow. At that point, I’m thinking “thank god I have this permit” and allow myself to forget about the reasons why and just be grateful that I do.

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