We have a disabled parking pass for a reason - now stop giving us the stink-eye!
I get it, none of us are elderly. None of us use a wheelchair or walking aids. None of us "look" disabled, whatever that may mean to most.
I went through the legal process to get one like anyone else. I paid the fee and had a doctor sign off on it. The government approved it and issued it. It's not like I found one on the black market.
I got it because every once and a while, the Little Man has a penchant for bolting. Ok, not really a penchant, but a tendency. It happens when he gets angry or upset usually. He's not an eloper or a wanderer. He's a runner.
He tends to do it when things are not going his way - and a common scenario for that would be when we quickly have to leave a store because he wants every shiny item in it and if we stay there, things will break (I've had that happen. Luckily, no one made me pay for damages!)
So then the next logical thing would be to exit the store and run away from me, usually into a parking lot. I think we can all agree this is not safe. So rather than having to drag a screaming, unpredictable, potential-bolter through a parking lot and hope for the best, we applied for a disabled parking pass so we would always have the closest parking to the door. Because I don't want my kid to get hit by a car.
I know I don't have to explain myself or justify myself to anyone (or at least, I shouldn't!) but I have to admit, being stared at or given the stink-eye by strangers is kinda annoying. I'm not writing this for people who understand not all disabilities are visible. I'm not writing this for people who get that everyone has a story. I'm not writing this for people who understand some parents will do anything and everything in their power to keep their kids safe.
I'm writing for those who don't think, or haven't ever considered the possibility, that disabled parking is not a privilege afforded, but a RIGHT to make sure disabled people, whatever their disability, have safe and easy access to every public place, just like anyone else.
I will keep taking him out - I will not hide him in my house in order to make other people more comfortable - and one day he will get to a point where he won't bolt. When that day comes, I will gratefully give up our disabled parking pass and be thankful there are systems in place that make sure we are treated with equality.