Grateful for husband and children after distressing experience on Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day, my husband wanted me to spend the day in Red Deer to relax while he and our three children cleaned the house.

Dear Editor,

On Mother’s Day, my husband wanted me to spend the day in Red Deer to relax while he and our three children cleaned the house. However, I had made plans to look after my friend’s son for the day, and also wanted to spend time with my family. It was a glorious day, topping out at 29 degrees, so I decided to take my two younger children, ages five and nine, and my friend’s son to Centennial Park.

We spent a lovely afternoon there as did many happy families. I gave pushes on swings, played catch, and had assistance from the children to prepare a craft for the school’s library craft club.

After a few hours, the children were ready to go home and to get out of the sun. We gathered our little shovels and pails, craft supplies, water bottles, and big purple ball my daughter had just received for her birthday the day before.

We walked down the sidewalk by the parking lot, and I became confused, I could not see my vehicle. I thought I must be mistaken about where we parked, although we had been to and from the car several times while at Centennial Park. I dragged the children up and down the sidewalk, then down the middle of the parking lot, pressing the red button on my key fob. The children were getting scared, and asked if the car had been stolen. I said of course not, and tried to be calm and reassuring, although I was feeling scared myself.

I was relieved to see an officer in the parking lot, and he was asking for the registration and insurance from a couple who looked like they had just taken a stroller out of their vehicle. I approached him and asked if he could help me. I felt ridiculous, but said I could not seem to find my car.

He asked if I drove a white car, and I said no and told him the colour and make of my vehicle. He said the vehicle had been apprehended and was at Lake City Services. He said the stickers on the plate were out of date. I said I could have sworn I had paid the registration, but he said he ran a computer check that showed I had not. I had no idea. I had missed it, but said if the computer showed I was late, then I guess I had not paid it yet.

I asked where the car was, and he told me the location of Lake City Services, but that I could not get my car until Monday. He said I would have to go to registries, then the RCMP detachment, then to Lake City Services to get the car.

I was still quite shocked and wondered aloud how I would do that when my purse was in the car. He said he could make arrangements for someone to meet me at Lake City Services so I could retrieve my purse. I was trying to make sense of things and how I would get there with my two children and the boy I was caring for, and the officer suggested he could give me a ride, but only had room for two passengers. Which two children would I leave at the park? Obviously not a solution.

He then suggested I walk home and get someone to take me to the Lake City Services. I said I did not live close by (that’s why we drove). He stared at me and then said, it’s only a couple of blocks, you live in Sylvan Lake, don’t you? I said I would call my husband, and he promptly left.

The three children and I sat on a grassy knoll with our water bottles, sand toys, craft and purple ball, like some kind of park refugees.

This Mother’s Day, I felt very attacked, and alternately, abandoned by those whom I have always respected and felt protected by. I know I made a mistake and broke a law, and even though it was unintentional, I know I was in the wrong. However, I wonder why, just why. Mine was not the only vehicle towed that day, and I suppose if unregistered vehicles are the target of the day, a full parking lot by a playground on Mother’s Day is probably pretty prime.

Although I had an awful experience at Centennial Park, I was and am so grateful I have my husband and children. My youngest ones were very sweet and kind and gave me homemade cards that night, and my teenage son wrote very kind words in his card directly related to the Centennial Park incident that finally made me cry. And my wonderful husband did all the running the next morning to free our vehicle, while I walked our daughter to the day home and then walked to work.

I just wish I had had some warning before the car was taken.

Edie Sandberg,

Sylvan Lake