Last month I was pulled over for rolling through a stop sign. I was definitely in the wrong. I rolled through and barely looked at the other car also approaching the intersection (or the cop car sitting there, waiting for someone like me).
At the time of the incident, I was on the phone (blue tooth) with my husband. I was telling him about how I had been rushing out of daycare that morning, and almost knocked over a pregnant woman and her little girl, as I bustled out the front door of the facility. That was the first moment where I should have said to myself “Stop. Slowdown.” Instead, I continued rushing on with my morning.
After leaving daycare, I stopped for gas because my car was running on fumes. Then I had to stop at the grocery store for a few last minute birthday gifts for my husband. The effect of the extra errands that morning, caused me to drive a different route than I normally would. I even distinctly remember sitting at another stop sign and thinking, I could turn left and go my normal route to work, or I can make a right and cut through this neighborhood to save myself some time…
I pulled over before the officer even turned on his lights because I knew what I had done was wrong. I felt terrible. I sat in my car and waited while he ran my information. I begged with myself not to cry, not to get upset, as tears formed in my eyes. I refused to make any silly excuse to the cop about why I did what I did because I had no legitimate reason for my failure to stop.
As he approached my window with the verdict, I could feel my stomach knotting up. I was about to get a ticket. I wondered, how much would this cost? If it would increase our insurance rate? How many points would I be getting on my license?
The officer began his spiel, and as he spoke I started to get the feeling that he was going to let me off the hook. I waited patiently and kept my mouth shut, as he kindly gave me a warning and a word of advice to always stop at stop signs, especially when a cop is sitting there. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t know if it was because I have a good driving record, or if he saw the two stuffed animals sitting in my passenger seat and took pity on me as a mom, but for whatever reason that day, he did not issue me a ticket.
I sat in my car for a while after the officer pulled away, and I cried. I cried so much that you would have thought that I HAD received a ticket, and had also been sentenced to 10 years in prison. The feeling I had was a mixture of relief and gratitude for his kindness in sparing me the $90 fee and 2 points on my license, but there was also a part of me that just felt like a shit person. I completely deserved that ticket, no questions asked, and as much as I was mad with myself for doing something that I knew was wrong, there was also a part of me that was just upset that I had been caught. Upset for not upholding this perception of perfection.
This was a wakeup call, and one that I desperately needed. I am not perfect, and that is okay. Sometimes, I just need to be reminded of that. I also need to stop and slow down, and enjoy these moments of being a mom because I know they go by so quickly.