The other day, I went to Flare’s Christmas concert at her school. Since Angel, my youngest, was sick, she stayed home with Hubby. It was strange for me to be going there by myself, without one or both of the girls with me. They are almost always with me wherever I go.
Unfortunately, the gymnasium was dark. I could barely see the chairs lined up from the lights reflecting off a HUGE Christmas tree. I thought I chose the second row. (That’s my cue to know when to stand and when to sit by observing people in front of me.) And I also thought I was close to the middle, but I wasn’t. I was on the third row, a little off from the middle. I was given a program to follow along with the concert. Again, unfortunately, it was TOO dark to read the program!! I found myself envious of the others who could read in the dim light. The students in the concert often moved around, to stand together and sing and then return to their seats…in the faint light. No one tripped or stumbled.
I felt a little better when Flare said she couldn’t read her program, either, because of the dim lighting. I knew it wasn’t just me.
But before the concert started, I had a sort of a CI moment. I was overhearing snippets of a conversation taking place behind me. I heard, “…just got in last night….they are staying here….leaving on the fourth….” Which to me meant that some relative of theirs came in last night and will be staying till January 4. I felt a little guilty about it, but it wasn’t like it was supposed to be a big secret or anything and I didn't turn around to see who was talking. I just felt like I was eavesdropping (without even trying). There wasn't a lot of noise or anything, so their voices were very clear to me.
After the concert, I waited until most of the people around me exited from their seats. I walked slowly down the dark path towards the light at the end of the “tunnel” (a pathway along the edge of the gym) near the back entrance of the school. Flare needed to pick up some textbooks and told me to stay right where I was. No parents allowed by the lockers. (Her words, I’m sure. LOL.)
Then we needed to cut across the school auditorium to get to the front entrance. I stopped right before entering the auditorium to stuff the program into my purse and take out my hat and gloves. I dropped a glove and bent to pick it up. A man on the side of me watched me. I think he said something, but I just smiled and said, “I got it.” Then I put the gloves on. A child walked around me. I smiled in that “oh, what a cute kid” smile as she gazed up at me. Then Flare came up to me, realizing I wasn’t behind her anymore. “Mom, you were standing in her way. She was in a wheelchair.”
Wheelchair? I did not see a wheelchair. “Someone was in a wheelchair? I only saw a child walking around me." She informs me, "That was _____ in a wheelchair."
I instantly replayed what happened. Me, stuffing the program in my purse, getting out my hat and gloves, dropping my glove, putting them on…the man looking at me and the child walking around me….I was mortified. How rude did they think I was??? Did they wonder why I didn’t courteously move to let her pass? It was DARK and all I could see was a sea of faces reflected in very dim lighting offered by the EXIT sign above the doorway. That child was not a child, but a studentin a wheelchair. Keep in mind that I had no idea anyone was in front of me. That area in front of me was too dark for me. It was the doorway to the auditorium.
Then I thought some more. Had I not stopped to do the purse thing, would I have continued to walk and walk right into the girl in the wheelchair?? How would that look? Which was worse? Was this one of God’s mysterious ways of protecting us? I always think about how well-timed things seem to be, like walking round the neighborhood. Sometimes I don’t hear a car back out of the driveway. Had I have been in the path of the driveway a few seconds ahead of time, I might have been run over. I like to think of it as one of God’s many ways of sending our guardian angels to protect us, even to put a seed of thought into our minds to pause and do something.
Then Flare and I walked through snow-covered sidewalks to the bus stop. There was a special enclosed area with a bench inside for people waiting for the bus. We waited in the cold, snowy weather, a little buffered from the winter wind, but some of the frigid air stretched out and icy fingers brushed by us and blew inside the enclosed area.
I had studied the public bus route online. It was supposed to drive by every half hour. Within five minutes, the bus came and went. What? Didn't the bus driver see us inside that little enclosed bus stop area? Were we supposed to step out and stand at the curb? It didn't even stop or slow down.
I figured we'd wait another half hour and when the bus made its rounds again, we'd get out and stand by the curb.
Nope. Nothing. An hour came and went and no bus. We ended up walking, toes and fingers numbed to the bones, into the (OH-SO-WARM!!) hospital lobby and asking for a phone to call a taxi. The receptionist there immediately made a call for us after inquiring which taxi service we wanted. She must make a lot of taxi requests for other patients/visitors.
So much for that bus experience!! It was too cold now for Flare to walk the two mile trek home from school and I wanted her to try the city bus. I figured she’d be home around the same time anyway. She’s stubborn about taking the bus (just like I am, too, but I figured we’d both cure ourselves of that. Sigh. It didn’t turn out that way). It’ll be a while before spring comes and she can start biking to school again. Sigh. I am upset about how things worked out. I don’t know if the bus service just shut down at that time or what. We had been under a four-day attack by Jack Frost (with about 2-3 inches of snow the past four days at that time-each).
It must have taken me about a good hour to calm down after getting home that day. I was so frustrated about the bus situation. I really had to stop and think again. This is the way life is and it is up to me to work with the cards I’ve been dealt. I can’ go around complaining all the time or just shrug it off. That's life.
So I am just going to file it away in the filing cabinet in my memory bank, label it “An RP Day” and take out the folder to review, to objectively and retrospectively tell myself that I couldn’t change anything, but most of all, that I am NOT alone. It happens.