Monday, June 21, 2010

Not the nanny

My mom got us a jogging stroller this weekend (nearly new at a garage sale: $30!!!) so Benjamin and I decided to try it out this morning. When I wheeled it out to the car, I thought, "I may never get it folded up to put in the car!" But, to my surprise, it folded up easily...with one hand! I think only a mother can appreciate how happy that made me.

On the way to ACU, I realized that I forgot my cell phone with which to call the friend I usually walk with. So it was just the two of us--Benjamin and me. The new stroller was smooth as butter and Benjamin was asleep before I had walked a quarter of a mile. The path was especially lovely today, fragrant with the blossoms of various trees, and breezy in the ample shade. When we passed the fountain lake (just a big pond with a fountain, but just wonderful), a wonderful cool breeze off of the water reminded me forcibly of summers at the beach as a child. I closed my eyes and imagined I was standing with my feet in the surf, breathing in the fresh ocean air. My heart was so full. When I breathed out, it was with a prayer of thanks. With every blossomy tree I passed, I thought of the poem I've loved since high school: There are days we live as if death were nowhere in the background/From blossom to blossom to sweet impossible blossom. When we neared the car at the end of two miles, it was getting too hot to continue for another two but Benjamin was still asleep. So I stopped in the shade and drank water while the wind rocked the stroller and showered us with tiny crepe myrtle flowers.

When I saw Benjamin starting to stir, I pushed the stroller the rest of the way to the car and turned it on to get the air conditioner running. By now it was really very hot out. I strapped him in the carseat and gave him a box of raisins. Then I went to fold up the stroller. I pulled on the handle. Nothing happend. I stepped on the lever. Nothing happened. I pulled and stepped simultaneously. Nothing happened. I started to sweat in earnest. I tugged and pulled and pushed and scratched my head and held my tongue just so. But still, the stroller didn't budge. At one point I managed to get it folded about a fourth of the way and tried to stuff it in the car that way, but it wouldn't fit. I dragged it back down to the concrete and started over. I don't know how long I fought with that stroller before I swallowed the giant lump of my pride and waved over some mamas who were walking the path with their children. "Do either of you know how to fold a jogging stroller?" I begged. They didn't know but offered to try. The three of us tugged and examined and pulled and pushed and stepped.

Then one of the ladies looked up at me and said, "Are you the nanny? They didn't tell you how to do it?"

No, I'm not the nanny. I'm the mommy. The mommy who has no idea what she's doing. I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. "It's a new stroller," I said. "I haven't used it before." They understood. They had been there too. Although they had fought with strollers in their own garages, not in university parking lots. I told them how it had folded up so handily just an hour ago. Then I took a deep breath and gave it one last best try.

It folded up easily. With one hand and one foot.

The three of us cheered. Benjamin was almost finished with his raisins. The other ladies' children were rolling up on their skate boards to say that they wanted to go watch the football players now, that they had promised they could watch the football players. We all sighed and smiled and understood each other.


Leah said...

awwww too funny and frustrating!!!

Olivia said...

When I walk there, I TOTALLY think of the ocean too! Isn't that funny?! There is something in the smell I guess.

Travis and Erin Bodeker said...

The nanny? You should have answered in your best Fran Dresser accent.