HerStory

All in a Day's Words

Month: July 2009

The Perfect Stroller

My sister gave me professional mommy advice on purchasing strollers.  She said, “Forget about buying just one stroller.  By the time you are done, you’ll have to buy at least three that all serve different functions.”  Yet as SUPERMOM, I was able to research faster than a speeding bullet and purchase in a single bound.  Therefore, I bought my first, all-purpose, perfect stroller prior to giving birth to baby number one.

Why not?  I had read the reviews in Baby Bargains (my motherhood buying bible), on multiple websites, in Consumer Reports, and within a few other publications that reviewed strollers in detail.  I was one-step ahead of all those mothers who had initially purchased the wrong stroller.  Convinced that my sister had been one of those fools, I proudly purchased the perfect stroller.  I was convinced that this was a lone investment for the all-in-one only stroller ever needed, according to the experts.  It arrived “like new” from an Ebay seller, except for the hole in the bottom basket.  How that happened is anyone’s guess.  I picture some mom, exhausted, frustrated, ready to explode from discovering that her stroller did not meet all her needs, lighting a match and putting it under the stroller, trying to set it ablaze.

Clearly, I can relate to this.  Yeah, you guessed it.  This was not the end-all, be-all stroller.  I mean, yes, it moved and turned and held the baby.  Yet our first trip to Chicago to visit grandma and grandpa with our newborn gave me a fortune cookie warning I have not learned well since motherhood began: attempt to control the outcome and you will find yourself disappointed.   We checked the perfect stroller at the gate, signing our life away not to hold the airline responsible for damage incurred by them.  It should have read, sign here so that we may rip apart your stroller and get away with it.  Because no sooner did we reach Chicago did we find it missing a wheel.  We waited at the gate discussing how we signed away any rights to compensation, while the stroller killers found the missing wheel.  Our perfect stroller was no longer perfect, nor usable.

Here is where we thank our very handy, ready for anything daddy, who just happens to be traveling with Duck tape.  Do not ask.  Just know that he is possibly the most dependable travel guy I have ever met.  Taping the wheel back on, wrapping the gray tape around repeatedly until it looked like a gray cast, we were again mobile.

Rather than dump this imperfect stroller, we held onto it for five more years, through the birth of a second child; it has become our travel stroller. It has always looked like a decrepit victim since its violent crime by stroller criminals disguised as airline baggage handlers. Additional bruises from the normal wear and tear of childhood disasters have also taken their toll.  For example, the chocolate milk explosion that left a major stain on the seat, the handle that fell off one summer that needed a duck-taping repair, a new cast if you will for its arm, and a bungee cord that now holds it closed. Since then, we have bought an additional four strollers: an umbrella stroller for quick errands and short distances, a jogging stroller for the beach and walks around the neighborhood, and a double stroller for the new edition kid that arrived two years later.   I stand corrected and apologetic for my self-righteous behavior.  My sister was right.  Forget about getting the perfect stroller; it does not exist.  Save yourself time and energy, and succumb to the inevitable.  You, too, will purchase at least four strollers before it is all said and done.

Rainbow of Happiness

Rainbow of Happiness 

A glimmer of ecstatic happiness in simplest form takes my breath away.  I sit on an oriental rug, criss-cross-apple-sauce, like a child, exposed to life from the vantage point of my two and a half year-old son.  Seeing the world through his eyes is a lesson in simplicity, joy and magical splendor.  Technically we are in a music class, but I suspect that this little boy could be anywhere and recreate the following emotions and creative play in any environment.  Our music teacher is engaging, entertaining, and musically expert; my son stares at him intensely with curiosity and patience, awaiting the next activity. 

Out comes a plain, blue polyester bag.  The teacher unzips it slowly with intrigue and expressions of surprise as he peaks into it.  Music emanates the room, full of leaping, jingle-type beats, making you want to spring to your feet and dance.  You refrain, awaiting instruction as we, adults, have learned to do from our organized, rule-oriented culture.  The children in front of us model our behavior and remain immobile, awaiting the teacher’s big reveal, in his inconspicuous bag. 

He reaches in with one hand and in dramatic fashion, pulls out rainbow-colored silk scarves, bunches at a time, springing them upward toward the sky.  Rainbows scatter wildly around us, gliding and moving at their own pace with differing wind resistance.  The scarves rain upon us like magic sunlight, sending rays in each direction.  With each beat, the teacher takes out more scarves to share with his students and their guardians. 

Next, to show the possibilities, he begins dancing with scarves in his hands, waving them to the beat, dancing in various directions, wherever the music takes him.  My son follows, feeling the freedom of movement taking hold of his feet and arms; he swings them in a variety of ways.  He smiles from ear to ear; his eyes sparkle at the magical scene of rainbow heaven.  I model the teacher’s behavior as to exhibit the normalcy of this scene, as if dancing with scarves is all I have ever done.  I feel the flow of energy swirl in all directions, my mind enmeshed in the movement, music and magic. 

Joyfulness reigns upon us, when suddenly our guide takes a scarf, holding it by two corners, blows at the center of the rectangle towards the ceiling, sending the cloud of silk into the air.  My son watches, locked in on the scarf, waiting with hands and arms outstretched, moving to and fro to situate himself under the falling, billowing silk, and catches it, hugging it to his chest, as if he treasures the prize he has retrieved.  He smiles and giggles, like crystal being tapped gently, releasing a calm, melodic chime that alters your insides with colorful peace.  This cheerful, brilliant echo of happiness can be felt by others who observe this ecstatic play.  The engaged magician of a teacher repeats this process again and again, recognizing the significant joy he has brought into the room within a child’s happy heart.  He mentions the considerable talent of my toddler’s eye/hand coordination, foreshadowing a future shortstop in major league baseball.  As a mother, all I feel is my son’s sense of pride from repeatedly catching the scarves and the enjoyment he relishes in. 

Soon thereafter, our instructor blows the scarf with an energetic breath into my little boy’s face, for a new reaction.  As the scarf covers my son and he is momentarily surprised and semi-blinded, he pauses, but almost instantaneously explodes with laughter.  The teacher repeats this harmonious flow of movement; each time my little one reacts as if it is the first time.  His giggles flood the area, with an energy that ripples out to an audience surrounding him, producing roars of laughter, especially within me. 

I feel inside a tremendous light, so bright, watching the humorous nature of life’s simplicity.  Rainbow-colored scarves flow through the energy, breath, humor, laughter’s echoes, and freedom; they envelope me with a feeling of inner, harmonious peace.  This is the type of enjoyment we strive for and are especially grateful to glimpse as often as possible.  The reality is that it only takes a moment.  Within an instant, the uninhibited can feel happiness at the core, deep within their hearts, and outpour this blissful joy through movement, music and creative expression. 

The result you find is a rainbow, awaiting the flow of energy, full of love, laughter, and ultimate elation.  My son is no exception in our world, only an example of what is possible if you allow yourself to travel to that space.  He teaches me constantly of how simple it is and reminds me how complicated we adults make finding happiness.  It cannot be retrieved by striving externally towards it.  Joy thrives within each of us; it takes little effort to let it out.  Next time I seek the extraordinary, I know to search no further than within myself for the ingredients: Breath, energy flow, rainbows, smiles, laughter, and love.  These are the flavors of life that take my breath away, an energetic force of happiness.                                                                                                     

L.E. Falcon is a freelance writer, who lives outside of Boston and treasures time with her two children and husband.  She holds an MBA from Babson College and a B.S. in Math Ed. from Boston University.  You may contact L.E. Falcon at LEFalcon@lightalife.com.

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