I remember the day I picked out my stroller. I was so overwhelmed with the number of options out there and had a difficult time staying focused on my need versus want list with all those little kicks in my stomach. I finally selected one of those stroller systems which includes a car carrier that clicks and locks into place. It was easy to push, and could fold down with a single twist of a hand.
This last feature proved to be particularly beneficial to me as my husband went into business for himself slightly before the birth of our first child. My son was planned. The factory closure where my husband worked prior was not. At least it wasn’t planned by us. I would strongly caution others to think long and hard about their decision to start a business at the same time as bringing adding an infant to the family if there are other options on the table, or if you lack a strong local network of friends and family willing to pitch in.
We didn’t know better. He was already chewing on the entrepreneurship option, the factory situation merely sped up the time-table. As a result, I found myself spending several evenings alone with only the dog and the baby for company while the hubby acted as sales, marketing, service, and support for his fledgling business.
As neither of my two companions were exactly strong conversationalists, I decided to take us to the streets. I walked miles upon miles with that stroller, holding it with one hand and the dog’s leash in the other. Neighbors laughed. I looked like I was conducting some southern suburban dog sled race. I embraced the image. I intentionally hammed it up when there were witnesses grateful for the attention of other adults.
Then one day we were walking down our usual route when a cat bolted out from a nearby bush. My dog, a stocky 60 pounds of pure muscle, darted after it, snapping the leash from my hand. Off balanced, I fell, bringing the stroller down with me. My son started screaming as the stroller landed on its side. The sound caused my dog to stop chasing the cat and return to our side full of concern.
Passerbys also came running to help. I stopped trying to compete for the mother of the year award a long time ago, but I still felt like the lowest scum of the earth as I attempted to calm my son. My neighbor pointed to the buckles as I fumbled to release them. “It’s okay. He’s okay. The stroller did what it is supposed to.” He must have repeated the phrase three times before I really heard what he was saying. My son had been strapped into his stroller with its five point buckling system and had suffered no injury. He had only been scared due to the sudden change of altitude.
My husband’s work schedule eventually settled into something more manageable. He was able to join me for walks more and more. The stroller was swapped out for a tricycle. Then our other son was born and the stroller once again became a necessity, but time advances like an avalanche.
Now my sister-in-law is expecting her first child, and is experiencing that same nervous overwhelming feeling I remember so well. My husband and I are content with our two children. We offered to give her the stroller months ago. But the actual act of giving was more difficult than I anticipated. I had so many great memories associated with it. Not just of my boys’ babyhood, but great times with my dog, who has since departed as well. Sending it away felt like I was truly closing the door on that time of my life.
But sentiment was the only reason to keep it around. It might trigger memories, but in the meantime it was going to collect dust and take up space in the garage. At the same time, my sister-in-law’s need wouldn’t become any less real. I had to remind myself, it was going to be okay. It had done what it was designed to do. I had to let go of the physical object. The memories would always be mine, but it was time to send the stroller on to its new home. May it give my sister in law equally great memories.
I now have room for new adventures with wagons, big kid bikes, scooters, skateboards, or whatever else may find its way into my garage over the next several years. I may have closed one door, but that thought is enough to make me look forward to opening the next with a smile.