Ditching the stroller–the end of an era

We took our first trip in almost 11 years that didn’t involve a stroller.

I just don’t know what to think about that.  For the first time since child rearing began for us in 1999, everyone in our group could feed, dress, wipe, and cart themselves around.

Our littlest daughter, Lady Bug, age 3 ½ , has gone from being a toddler to being a kid.  In a blur, of course.  Over the past year or so, each trip has seen the loss of a ‘baby item’ off her packing list.  No more diapers, baby monitor, binky, potty seat, toddler utensils, sippy cups.  We’ve even stopped worrying about a change of clothes.  And now, the stroller.

Oh, the places we’ve gone with a stroller in the last 11 years—walks around the neighborhood, vacations to see family, the beach, the mountains, all things Disney, the museum, the zoo.  Even trips just to the grocery store were made easier (for our kids and us) by having a familiar place to contain and transport babies.  And then there are the other millions of things our strollers have held besides little kids—shopping bags, diaper bags, all the family’s coats shoved into the little basket or draped over the top.  Oftentimes, little ones have used it much less on an outing than our family’s paraphernalia has. 

As I packed the car this last time, I pulled the stroller out and thought, `I don’t think we’ll need the stroller.’  At first, it was just a space necessity.  But as I tucked it into a spot in the garage I thought, `Huh, we haven’t used it in a long time.  Maybe we’re done with it.’

What a sad thought that was, in a way, to not need a stroller any more.  ‘Cause that means that there aren’t any babies or toddlers at our house.  It means the tiny sweet humans who have occupied those stroller seats for so many years are, well, growing up.

It’s the end of an era.  We’re putting babyish things behind us.  Oh, I’m not quite ready to give that stroller away yet, but it’s not because anyone here needs it.  Well, maybe I need to see it—not to mourn the loss of babyhood so much, but as a monument to what has transpired in our lives.  Eleven years is a long time to need one piece of gear.  And, really, negotiating any outing without a stroller is much easier.  I think of all the doors, stairs, small spaces, and crowds that have been frustrating with a stroller.

But, oh, what stories our strollers could tell.

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