Stolen Stroller, New Dreams
My stroller came up missing last week. My massive Graco click-connect stroller that I had saved up $300 in Babies R’ Us gift cards to buy, with five seat levels and a huge storage compartment underneath. I was utterly pissed. But I wonder now if it was meant to be.
I have great neighbors who are home all of the time and I have always felt really safe in my community. So I've been leaving my stroller outside of my apartment whenever someone was babysitting the young prince for a year now, so that they could take him on walks. Maybe I was tempting fate, because last week the stroller disappeared. At two years old, my son is finally walking (Yay!) but we are not quite at that hold mommy’s hand while you toddle around going places stage. My prince needed a new carriage, immediately, if I was ever going to be able to run errands again.
My husband has been obsessed for awhile with a Children’s resale place in Culver City, Noodles. I have made fun of him for the interesting secondhand fashion he has acquired for our son there. He went by and sent me pictures of several strollers in good condition, so I went to check it out. I walked out with quite a few things, among them a new (well, old, but new to me) stroller and an Ergo carrier (which has changed my errand running life) for a hundred dollars total. My new/old stroller is lighter weight. The storage underneath is big enough for what I need but not so big that I’ll overpack, which I tended to do with my former one. It has a slot in the handle that perfectly fits my new phone. I can let it down and up and lift it in to my trunk with one hand, and maneuver it more easily on and off curbs, around corners and coffee shop tables.
I have to tell you something about my stolen stroller. It was squeaking, loudly and painfully, everywhere we went. It was huge, knocking over tables and chairs whenever I tried to navigate through a coffee shop. Some part, that I didn’t even feel like investigating had come loose underneath, and was loudly scraping and clattering along the ground. It was filthy, because I would feed the young prince in it when we were out. I knew that it was time to do something about the stroller, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it.
This might sound crazy, but... I think God took my stroller. She/He/They/It knew that I needed to start fresh rather than try to rehabilitate something that I had not done a good job of taking care of. She/He/They/It knew that I needed to travel lighter, to trust more in my own judgment of what I actually needed with me to move through this world. The theft of my stroller is like the tiniest microcosm of the the journey that started almost three years ago now, with a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. I lost that imagined, perfect, normative baby that I was going to exceptionally raise into the perfect, normatively abled overachiever, within the perfect, normative nuclear family I thought that I was creating. I got something different. I don’t know yet whether I can say that what I have is better than what I imagined, but I know that what I have has made me better than I was.
See, going in to Ethnic Studies scholarship disrupted the more traditional sense of faith I used to hold, that everything in the world was meant to be. It is nearly impossible to reconcile that kind of faith with the realities of conquest, genocide, enslavement, lynching, mass incarceration, and all of the continuing raced, gendered, and other forms of violence and suffering that happen throughout this world. But still, when I look at my own life, I can't help but sometimes still glimpse that hand, of an all-seeing and ultimately benevolent force, in some form, somewhere, that knows exactly what I need, and teaches me that my needs and wants do not always align.
I still think that there are forms of loss and suffering in this world that are absolutely unexplainable and irreconcilable, within divine or any other form of logic. But I also have to say that those are not the kinds of loss that have dominated my life recently. Everything that has been taken from me has forced me to grow, to think and to be a little different, to have a sense of peace that if things don’t work out the way that I planned, it might be an opportunity for something else. I am truly grateful for that. I am grateful that I had the resources to replace my stroller right away. I truly hope that whoever stole it needed it more than me.
What do folks think? Have you ever lost something that provided an opportunity to either let go or make room for something new? Have you ever had a door close just in time for another to open? Has something that devastated you ever become a blessing? Or am I just being way too deep over four wheels and some polyester on a plastic frame today?
For my SN mamas, papas and othermothers, come roll with me and the young prince to The Circle tomorrow, where we can talk about strollers, faith, and everything else! Details on my Warrior Mama page.