Friday afternoon I pulled into the school parking lot after school to pick up the big kids. As I was easing my way into the congested parking lot (oh, for our new school grounds with a safe pick-up and drop-off zone) I glimpsed a woman loading her own children into her green minivan.
For no reason at all I was overcome with a bad feeling. A very bad feeling that made me feel mean as I watched this woman tossing a backpack into her car.
I don't know this particular mom - she has children who are all in different grades than my own and our paths had never crossed. So I was irritated at myself. Why on earth would I feel so negatively toward this woman? How irrational are my periods going to make me as I creep toward forty?
Moments later, I pulled into my usual spot and waited for the girls to see me. Chloe saw me first, and climbed into the back seat. I noticed that Maddie was still gabbing with her friends, oblivious to me, so I told Chloe to hop back out and go get her sister for me. I was already ticking off the list of things to do to prepare for Saturday's Gala.
Chloe stepped out of the car, took one or two steps, when my whole body jolted and was thrown against my door. I sat there for a moment, confused, until the realization of what happened came to me.
The woman in the green minivan had placed her car in reverse and plowed into my car. Right against the door where Chloe had exited just seconds before. Chloe looked at me through the car window, her eyes big. I rolled down the window and just stared at her.
"Mom, the car is hit."
But Chloe wasn't. She was right there, looking at me. I still couldn't move. Other parents who witnessed the whole thing were beginning to walk over, looking at me with quizzical expressions. I was unaware of this, and later my girlfriend would ask me why I took so long to step out of the car.
I believe it was because I couldn't get over how close of a call it was. The woman who hit me finally came over to my window and said, "Sorry about that; I was wondering when something like this would happen in our parking lot."
I just nodded my head and said, "Better my car than a kid."