Soft, footed pajamas, warm little coats, tiny boots and shoes (the boots!) never manage to remain in my donate pile. So until I’m ready—if ever—my old favorites, relics from the baby years, are stuffed in boxes, piled high in closets around the house.
Then there is the stroller. My mother gave us a beautiful navy bassinet-style stroller when my son was born five short and long years ago. The wheels glided along the ground like a dream. I felt glamorous and proud when I walked my infant son in that stroller.
When we lived in the city, my cozy family of three spent a lot of time with that stroller. I walked with my baby son almost every day. We walked to get coffee, to pick up a few groceries—anywhere, really, as long as the Minnesota air wasn’t too bone-cold.
My son didn’t always like being a passenger. Though beautiful to me despite our challenges, he was not an easygoing “let’s go anywhere!” baby. So along came containers of Cheerios, extra pacifiers, sippy cups, and toys—anything to keep his chubby hands and rosebud mouth busy so I could enjoy some time beyond the walls of our little apartment.
When we moved out of the city and I had my daughter, the navy stroller once again played an important role in our lives. It became a spot where my new baby spent a lot of time sleeping while I chased after my growing son.
Remarkably, those babies are now 3 and 5. The generous gift from my mother was collecting dust in our garage. I looked at it from time to time as I was getting in and out of my car, hurrying with groceries or fumbling to get the kids somewhere on time. And while being a mother of babies is not an easy role, I enjoy the current ages of my children more than ever. Still, I felt conflicted when I realized the days of the navy bassinet stroller were over. My children are becoming more independent, and that’s good, I suppose. It really is.
Seeing the abandoned stroller reminded me that it could be better used by another mom finding her way in motherhood. Yes, it was a gift to us, but I knew my mom would understand if we sold it. We could use the money for our own family—for an overdue date night with my husband, some springtime rubber boots for the kids, something fun to mark our current stage of life.
Enter Craigslist. I dusted off the old stroller, marveling at how well it had held up, and how pretty it still was. With some hesitation, I posted photos and a brief description online. I was secretly relieved when it didn’t sell for a while.
And then, just like that, it did.
A young mother, along with her rosy-cheeked baby and quiet husband, met with me to take a look. I marveled at her baby’s size; it’s easy to forget how little a 9-month-old is. Her husband looked proud and amused by his cheerful wife as she pranced around the parking lot, enjoying the stroller’s smooth glide. I vividly remembered practicing with it the very same way when I was very pregnant with my first.
I showed them the special features, or the ones I could remember, concealing the small hope that they might change their minds. But she clearly loved it, and I was happy about that too.
I drove away before they put the stroller in the trunk of their car. I cried a little on my way home, calling my mom to tell her about the sale, hoping and knowing she would understand. It gave us both some quiet joy to know that her gift would now be loved by another mother just starting her journey.
That empty space in the garage, though. I will fill it with something soon so that the constant reminder of a completed layer of our past is no longer there.