Today we sold our triple jogging stroller on Craigslist.
I had just finished my 15 mile long run when the future owner sent me a text to let me know she was on her way. And then it hit me…this was it. I wouldn’t even have a chance to take it for one final spin. I got a little upset.
When had we last taken the triple for a run?? Had it been weeks? Months??
This whole thing started just last week when my husband took an hour out of his day to rearrange the way I haphazardly toss kids’ bikes, scooters, battery powered jeeps, strollers, etc. into the garage at the end of each day. Our garage doubles as a storage space for our outdoor play items, as well as a pretty well stocked gym. (Everyone knows garages aren’t really reaching their full potential if you actually use them to park your cars.)
When he was finished he asked me to come out and see the sparkling new organized space.
“Ohhhhh…great job! There is so much extra space to do activities!!!” I said enthusiastically twirling around like Brennan and Dale from the movie Step Brothers.
Then as I reached for the automatic garage door button, I noticed a stroller sitting out in the driveway all by itself.
Me: “Oh, you forgot the triple, I’ll help you bring it in.”
Husband: “Nope. It’s going to stay out there”.
Me: “Pssshhhh…that’s ridiculous it will get rained on. Here, I’ll fold it up. Where should we put it?”
“No, BethAnn, ” he said. And as he stopped me, he literally put his hands on my shoulders, as if he was bracing me for an emotional blow to the gut, “Listen…”
I knew what he was about to say. His lips started moving but I couldn’t focus on his words, or even hear him for that matter, because I was staring at the stroller as if he was suggesting we sell one of our children…
I quickly interrupted him and politely brushed off his words with a slight flick of my hand. “No, no no…that’s ridiculous it’s not time to get rid of it yet. I still have so many more runs I can do with this thing!”
“BethAnn,” he said in a sweet, soft, empathetic voice, “it’s time.”
The way he was speaking to me was so different than all the other times he joked that we should sell the stroller. I always just laughed and brushed it off, and he would say “Ok…but one day the kids are really going to outgrow it”.
So here I was, standing in the entryway of our garage, staring at my husband in utter disbelief as he was seriously telling me that our triple stroller was not coming back in.
Then it started.
I couldn’t control it.
Even in the moment, I knew how ridiculous it was that I had no control over the slow trickle of tears that started falling from my eyes. I even tried to play it off as if a piece of dust from that very stroller had made it’s way into my eye…which was rather plausible considering it had been awhile since I packed the kids in it for a joyride.
Lucy, our oldest, is going into 2nd grade and she rides her bike faster than I can run. She’s already asked if she can run our annual family Turkey Trot this year in lieu of hitching a ride.
Olive, the next in line, will be starting kindergarten. She would probably have no problem allowing someone to push her in a stroller for the rest of her life, simply because she doesn’t like to sweat. However, I’m not an enabler. She can ride her bike too.
Alice (3 years) and Gus (22 months) are still young enough to justify being companions during a stroller run. But considering we also have a double stroller in the garage…I see my husband’s point.
But I was overwhelmed with nostalgia when I stared at that lonely little stroller sitting in the driveway. We affectionately called her the “Smart Car”, mostly because they are about the same size. She didn’t quite fit on regular side walks so we always had to run in middle of the road.
All the memories started to hit me. Family evening runs and bike rides. Early morning runs after waving goodbye to Lucy as the school bus pulled away. Family friendly races with enough seating for everyone. Pushing three kids through the streets while also sporting a very visible pregnant belly.
That stroller had been good to us.
But the truth is, these memories don’t live inside an object. We don’t lose these memories when the stroller goes away. Whether it’s sitting in our garage collecting dust, or being used by another family, the memories are ours to keep. They live within us, not within the red fabric of the stroller.
It’s selfish of me to want to hold onto an object when I don’t use it anymore simply because looking at it brings back a rush of memories. Especially when there is another family out there who will find value in it and make similar memories of their own over the next several years.
It’s selfish of me to want to push children in a stroller who are beyond stroller age simply to get a little ego boost as I run through the neighborhood, or through a local race, and listen for people to say “Holy Sh*t! You are a badass!”
Does it feel good to be a badass? Yes.
Am I less of a badass without my stroller? I suppose not.
So after wiping some tears, my husband did allow me to bring the triple stroller back into the garage that night, but only after he had physical proof that I had posted it on Craigslist. After that, it was only a matter of time. She was a beautiful beast. She would sell quickly. Triple jogging strollers are rare and hard to find…a unicorn, if you will, to a large running family.
Within 4 days she was gone.
But you know what? The best part of letting go wasn’t the extra 4 x 3 foot space we gained in our garage. The best part was watching this other family pull into our driveway in their white minivan. A mom stepped out of the car with her arms in the air and said “Yesssss!!! I’ve been searching so long for one of these, thank you!” Then a side door opened and three excited little kids hopped out. Without missing a beat, each one claimed a seat and tested out their overhead canopy.
As they packed the stroller securely into the back of their van, she smiled and assured me that they’d make great memories in it.
Of course they will. And best of all, they would breathe new life into her.
The running community is my favorite. 🙂
Farewell to our big red lady, and thanks for the memories…