Dear Officer, open letter for when you pull me over
An open letter to the police officer who will one day pull me over:
I know you’re doing your job and I was going a few miles per hour over the speed limit. I’m not going to intentionally cry to get out of a ticket, nor am I going to lie. I may cry anyway because I’m overwhelmed by my toddler. He’s two-and-a-half, you see. I may cry anyway because it’s just been one of those days. We were lucky to leave the house, after all. Between experimenting with how fast the dog’s water can pour out onto the kitchen floor… and his head. Between kicking off one shoe while I attempt to put on the other. Between getting into my car (this very one, you see, Officer), only to find that I forgot to fill up with gas last night, and the needle is hovering slightly below the E. I meant to do it on my way home yesterday, but my kid was starving, or on the verge of falling asleep, or I plain forgot as I went over plans for dinner that were abandoned in favor of chicken nuggets again. I might cry, because we are running late again. But not because of the speeding ticket that I may or may not deserve this time, but
probably have deserved in the the past.
Dear Officer, as I drive down the road, I see you driving by in your patrol car, doing a double take as my toddler and I rock out to “Hickory Dickory Dock.” You may wonder why my hair is standing up on end. It’s on end because I may have forgone a shower so I could play more playdough games with my kid. Or I may just have been running late and didn’t have time to secure 5 minutes of toddler entertainment to take a half-assed shower before we go get sweaty in the woods. It may be because my 2-year old helped me “do” my hair and I forgot to give myself a once over in the zookeeper’s shuffle of getting out the door today. It does feel like I’m the zookeeper some days; this is my circus and this is my monkey. My hair may just be wild because I woke up and it was that cool this morning. It’s a good day for a hat, sir.
Dear Officer, every so often as I’m driving, I imagine these conversations we might have. Why, no! We don’t live in our car. I’m just a stay-at-home-mom who is almost never home. I’m sure it looks like we might live in the car though! We’re always going on adventures to play in the snow or the woods or to go for a hike. We never know what we’ll need in the car, so we always have a full load. Disregard the mushed up goldfish and pile of toys in the back seat. We almost always have a stroller and kid carrier, 2-3 changes of clothes each, and our hiking poles in the carr, too. In the winter we also have sleds and ice grippers. We never know how warm we’ll need to dress to be outside in Alaska, so we decide as we gear up in the back of the car from the totes of winter — and summer — gear that you see. Yes, that’s a sleeping bag, and blanket, and shovel you see back there too. You never know when we’ll have an impromptu picnic, or get stuck somewhere and need a warm blanket. And the food! Yes, we always have Larabars and gold fish, and lots and lots of water in the car. You never know when hunger will strike, particularly when a 2 year old is involved. He might have refused yesterday’s favorite food today and be starving for it in 5 minutes. Or he might have eaten a three helpings of breakfast and need more as soon as we arrive to our destination.
Dear Officer, thanks for being so nice to me as I blurt out my life’s story. I’m not quite sure why I’m compelled to overshare, but I’m almost certain I will. I want you to know that I’m sorry I was driving a little too fast, and I wonder how I’ll explain that I’m not a hoarder even though my car is so loaded with stuff that it might appear that way. How will I explain to you that I’m really just trying my best to be an awesome mom and give my child a childhood filled with play and outdoor adventures? You may laugh at me as you walk away (and hopefully just give me a warning because my record is squeaky clean), but it’s not easy, you see. The whole world seems to judge us moms for the choices we make to do one thing for our kids but not do another. It has me in tears just thinking about how I’ll explain to you that I’m a good mom. And you haven’t even pulled me over. You may never pull me over, though I’m not so naive to think that you won’t one day, when I’m running late already and drive a tad bit too fast.
Dear Officer, thanks for listening! Please be lenient on me whatever day we meet. And please forgive the tears that will likely come.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who imagines what the conversation would be if I get pulled over!