jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

I Plead Motherhood

Found this in a pile of discarded mail on my desk. It was one of the best Mother’s Day gifts received. Read on.

City of Boston
P.O. Box 55800
Boston, MA 02205-5800
Re: Violation #123456

April 4, 2013

Dear City of Boston Violations Officer,

First, I am terribly sorry that I parked illegally on Newbury St. I was careful to read the signs, get my ticket, display it properly and return in a timely manner. I just didn’t understand that where I parked was zoned for commercial use only. The sign next to my car mentioned snow zone etc., but not that it was a loading zone. I would like to plead “motherhood” and throw myself on the mercy of you, since you either may be a mother or at least came from one.

This is my story. Last year my husband bought me wonderful glasses from SEE Eyewear, a real treat for me. And on the day before Easter my four children (ages 5, 4, 4, and 2) climbed into the minivan and walked across my purse, which held my glasses, which had fallen out of the protective case. It was a group crime, I’m afraid. No timeouts were issued. When I called SEE, they said I had to come in immediately in order to take advantage of my 12-month warranty.

So on Tuesday, with no time to acquire a babysitter, I packed all four kids into the car and left myself an hour and a half to drive from South Hamilton AND park on Newbury St. wearing glasses with an old prescription (good enough to see, but oy, what a headache!) We circled around the eight blocks closest to SEE, at 125 Newbury St., about six times. I even explained why the white pick-up truck at the end of the street had a boot on its wheel and tickets under the windshield wipers.


When the van pulled out of my spot, you can imagine how excited I was. It must be legal, if that guy had parked there, right? We even thanked Pop-pop Groeber, my father, who always gives us good parking spaces from the next world. So I read the sign under which I parked (Tow Zone Street Cleaning… Snow Emergency) and then pulled in. I bought the ticket, displayed it correctly, bundled all four kids into jackets, mittens and hats and then walked with them, single file, holding hands, much like the Make Way for Ducklings statue in the Commons. We were a spectacle. They sat and colored throughout the appointment and then we headed back to the car.

When we got back to our car and saw the ticket my five year old immediately began to cry. “But Mama, do we have a boot? Will they take away our car?” I felt much the same way. We do everything possible to NEVER BREAK THE LAW, even parking laws. How could I have messed this up? The van driver parked behind me pointed out the signs I had missed that were at the far ends of the cars parked on either side of me. I apologized to him, too.

I will never make this mistake again. I promise that I tried my best to follow directions and comply with the signs posted. I thought that if I read the sign next to my car it would give me all the information I needed to know. But I’m afraid life is never like that. Now I know that I need to walk down the street a few car lengths in both directions and read all the signs. A metaphor?

Please give me a second chance. Besides wet kisses and wrinkled drawings, it will be the best Mother’s Day gift I get.

Thanks so much for your consideration.


Jennifer Groeber

April 15, 2013

Dear Sir/Madam:

The Office of the Parking Clerk has reviewed your dispute and has administratively dismissed violation #123456. We believe that the violation was issued in accordance with Boston Transportation Department Rules and Regulations regarding parking, and was validly issued. Any other similarly issued violations will not be dismissed, and will require you to appeal in person if you wish to challenge the validity of the violation.

Office of the Parking Clerk

4 comments on “I Plead Motherhood

  1. deedee
    October 16, 2013

    What a phenomenal victory. LOVE the whole story, start to finish – xo

    • jgroeber
      October 17, 2013

      Can you believe it worked? But who can’t relate to motherhood? We either are one or you come from one or both. 😉 Now perhaps I can learn to park on Newbury Street without earning a parking ticket.

  2. Margie S
    March 4, 2014

    So those parking people do have a heart…who knew?! Very impressive, perhaps that excuse could work for other dilemmas, I will keep that one in my back pocket. Thanks!

    • jgroeber
      March 9, 2014

      I love that they told me I couldn’t use the excuse again. But really, who can argue with motherhood? Plus I did have photo evidence. Ha!

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2013 by in Surviving Motherhood, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

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