As we start to finish up the site work for our new building, it comes to our attention that the royal “we” forgot to design bollards along the alley way, around the mechanical systems, and specifically, our transformer, the SOURCE OF OUR ENERGY for the building; no big deal. Cough. I research bollards and review the standards that the City has laid out. Colorful, complacent in uniform, and installed fixed, or removable. Basically, placed where, and noticed when, needed.
Besides now understanding the solution to the problem, I discover that, gasp, I, am a bollard. I’m permanently attached, yet moveable when need be. Where I lack in flash and fashion, I thrive in my function to protect what’s mine, and what, and who, I care about most. I thought as a special parent to a kiddo with special needs, I was standing alone, individual and unique, but it turns out, I am designed in a way that really doesn’t make me any more different than the other bollard parents out there. I am bright, and stubborn hard, and somewhere within the City’s (and Universe’s) design guidelines (see page 8, code section 2.D.a), you will see that I am specified to be a certain height, maintain a certain thickness (sigh), always be there, and above else, to proudly and bravely, wear the uniform, and carry out the parent bollard mission.
Driving home on my 30mph street, I see a woman and a young girl, walking towards me along the sidewalk to my right. As I approach nearer, and slowdown in preparation to make my right-hand turn, the woman, presumably the girl’s mother, right before my eyes, morphs into a bollard, instinctively placing herself between her daughter and my car (think like Maui, from Disney’s Moana, morphing from a Demi-god to a shark head, to a chicken, to a hawk, and then, back to Maui). An automatic protective force shield, a decision is made in an instant that her bollard body would, gladly, without hesitation, take the hit of my stealthily quiet Prius, and magically shield her daughter, if I were to somehow swerve and miss my way. We lock eyes through my own Toyota shield, and exchange a solid understanding, without missing a beat in her evening walk along the sidewalk, and with the slow of my roll, patiently taking my turn onto my street.
My own mother is a round one, with hard edges, but completely soft inside. Today, because of the cause and effect of the winds of change, time and age, her outsides are chipped and bruised, but her core solid, still, and authentically standing steady, and at the ready, near me, wherever I am in my own life. I’ve leap-frogged over her when she was bright red, and proud, in front of Target, trying to slow… me… down as a little me. Fixed in her ways, but forever attached, to me, and my every move.
I’ve walked along, and past, her, for years, and, despite not seeing her the same way through my childlike eyes as the woman I know she is today, I see now that she has always been there. I am not as alone as I thought I was. Now, along with my mom, I notice that we bollards are everywhere. We are designed to move with our children, and at all permitted costs, whether we experience dents, scrapes, rain, bird poop or a delivery truck smacking us around, we are fashioned and functioned to protect our children, our life force and source of our heart’s energy…forever, attached.