It’s Not About The Parking Spot

Last night I cried over a parking spot.  Well, it wasn’t over a parking spot as much as the lack of one.  I had been out for the evening, arrived home itching to wash my face, brush my teeth, crawl into bed to play Words With Friends and crash for the night.  Only, I couldn’t because there was nowhere to park.  It was just enough to put me over the edge.


For twenty years I lived in a nice (enough) four-bedroom house with a double wide driveway which was always there for me.  Not once in those twenty years did I arrive home unable to park my car.  I never put any thought to it.  I never reconsidered an evening out for fear that it would end with my not being able to park and, well, crying over it.  Now that I have downsized (significantly), the parking void is real.   And last night it was just enough to make me cry.

Only it wasn’t the insanity of not being able to park that made me cry.  It is certainly what set me off, but it was, like the lack of sex in a failing marriage, symptomatic of other things.

Today was my date with the judge.  After two years of rankling, discussing, acquiescing, negotiating and conceding, it was time to get divorced.  I was emotionally ready.  I had the date circled on my calendar* and awaited its arrival with calm and even a little bit of excitement.  It has been a long time coming, I was entirely resolute and ready but the anticipation of it kinda snuck up on me and, as a result, the fact that there was not a space in front of my door laying in wait for my arrival was enough to reduce me to tears. (Okay, full disclosure: it was a little bit of an exaggeration when I said that there was “nowhere” to park.  There were places to park, but they were further away from my front door than was acceptable to me. There, I said it.)

In the past two years I have separated from my husband, sold my house, moved to a two bedroom apartment, held a job, did freelance work on the side, raised two kids, fallen in love and now, gotten divorced.  It’s all good, but it is also a lot and ya wanna know something?  I’m tired and, therefore, parking challenges make me cry.

My mother has often pointed out to me, with more than a hint of frustration, the fact that I consistently crash through big, scary things with aplomb and a decent amount of grace.  I plow through situations that might bring others to their knees with strength and my sense of humor (almost) always intact.  However, throw me a curve ball as ridiculous as not being able to find a parking spot and I am ridiculously, embarrassingly and frustratingly destroyed, albeit it temporarily.  She is right.  Guilty as charged.

To my credit, however, I have a very quick recovery.  As it is happening, I am one million percent sure that my angst and agitation are directly related to whatever little tiny issue sets me off; like the other morning when I nearly (but didn’t) screeched, “what do you mean you are out of salt bagels?!?” at the poor pimply kid behind the counter.   It usually takes me just a few minutes to realize and (eventually) acknowledge that it isn’t about the parking spot at all.  It is then that I muster all my fortitude and remind myself, “I can do this.”  And I do.

Most of you started reading this blog because you wanted to follow Jess’s story.  I realize that for the past several months my entries have been sporadic, seldom about Jess and frequently about me.  Rest assured, she still has plenty of story left in her.  She’s been along for this ride and has (as recently as this afternoon when I nearly lost my mind over her coat and backpack being strewn across the floor) been subjected  to my emotional-episodes-that-aren’t-about-the-parking-spot-or-sold-out-salt-bagels.

Hang tight.  I am getting closer to establishing a new reality that is not built around the next huge thing I have to deal with…at least I hope I am.

*Not really.  I don’t even have a calendar on which I could circle something, even if I wanted to.  It was, however,  noted in my handy iPhone, along with a note to schedule the kids’ annual check-ups.

15 thoughts on “It’s Not About The Parking Spot

  1. Hi Julie, I began following your blog quite awhile ago to keep up with Jessie(as you said). And in that time,I’ve come to know you,well, as well as one can know someone through a blog. I’m sad for the hard times you’ve been through,thrilled for the victories you’ve had,and mostly I’m so frickin impressed with how well you do changes. And you’ve had a LOT of change come your way! As someone who often quakes in fear over any change, you remind me that it can be done. With grace. Mostly:).

  2. I always love your writing. Always cheers me up when your blog pops up in my inbox.
    I was heartened when you added falling in love to your list of changes over the past few years. You deserve love–we all do–but what a great add in to your mix of changes. It made me feel hopeful for my divorced and single friends. Hope is the most important ingredient for me, and one I like to spread.

    I miss hearing about Jess, but imagine that she is chugging along and that
    there are ups and downs and that it must be refreshing not to have a crisis to report. (knocked on wood, i promise)
    I am a woman living with Ovarian cancer, in and out of treatment, with two 11 year olds to raise with my wife. Life is a constantly changing picture. I relate to your salt bagel need, your parking rage, and your courage to face each day with your seat belt on moving forwards. Thank you for sharing your gift of language, it brings a smile to my face. I read many cancer blogs and mom blogs, and yours is a wonderful
    addition. Keep on keeping on. In solidarity with life’s ups and downs. Liz Schwarz

  3. I like reading anything you put on here (I’m sure there is lots that gets written and deleted or not written at all and stays in your head). Very glad to think that there isn’t any major upheaval for Jess and you, touch wood.

    I think I know what it’s like to fall to pieces at the little things but act with unnatural calmness about the big stuff (you’ve had LOTS more to deal with though than I ever have, so let me just say: I am in awe of you. You are still standing, that’s amazing! Don’t forget that) – I think it’s to do with it being ‘safe’ to come apart over the nothing instances: the space, bagel, ripped nail, stubbed toe etc. Because we can just let go and indulge in the over-the-top “woe is me, none of this is ever going to get better, etc etc” with a crying jag or a figurative throwing ourselves at a wall, theatrically banging against it, and… err, whatever. It is safe because once we’ve calmed down we can tell ourselves: oh well, it was just a parking space, no harm done.
    And the tears got rid of some stress hormones and we feel a bit better for it (some of the time at least). But do anything like this at a time when it matters? Oh no. We have to keep our loved ones and ourselves as safe as we can, so we’re of course gritting our teeth and soldiering through.
    I just don’t think I could do it as well as you do. And you don’t like changes I seem to remember you saying, you like feeling in control. And for all that you really do amazingly, astonishingly well when it matters.
    Well done you!
    Much love and lots of hugs

  4. Life throws curve balls. I just turned 15, and with that, came so many curveballs that I couldn’t handle it. The most important thing is getting back up, that’s what I have learned. Newton’s third law states that an object in motion will stay in motion unless it is acted upon by an outside force. You are the ball that needs to keep rolling, no matter what outside forces stop you. You run an amazing blog, and it has been fun to come along for the ride, just remember, that you have a great kid, and that you will be able to make it through this with her. Peace out!

    -Matt Smith, 15

  5. Hi, Julie, I’ve just finished getting through your entire blog in (practically) one sitting. It’s totally the wrong time of year for this and this is the wrong post to put it on and so on and so forth, but I wanted to share this link with you for future summers before I forgot. It might make your and Jessie’s lives easier in terms of swimsuit (and maybe underwear) shopping, I hope!

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