For the vast majority of parents, buying a stroller is a one-time thing -- you pick one that fits the "baby bucket" car seat at first, and then you remove that when the kid is old enough. To pick one out, you look in the Consumer Reports magazine, or you do some searching through online testimonials, or you talk to other parents; and then you go to Target or Toys-R-Us and find one in the right color. And then you're on your way, no fuss, no muss. And when you have your second child, unless you do this while the first one is still in the stroller, you get to re-use the first one.
For us, though, it's a bit different.
I'm sure most of us have been in public somewhere -- a mall, a grocery store, a park, wherever -- when we've seen a stroller that looked a bit different, somehow. At first it looks just like a normal stroller, but then we realize that the thing is quite a bit larger than usual for a kid that size. We notice that the child within is buckled in much more securely, perhaps with ankle harnesses and a chest harness and we see that his head nestles into this fabric-covered head-brace. And we see that this stroller's wheels are much larger, and that it looks like not so much a stroller but a stroller/wheelchair hybrid.
That's exactly what it is.
It's exactly what we have for Little Quinn. Currently we have a loaner from a local medical supply company while the insurance approvals and such go through for our own, and that medical supply company has the word "wheelchair" in its title. (What we currently have is pictured in the first photo in this post.) It's big and heavy and it takes up a lot more of the back of the car than a normal stroller.
Little Quinn turns one year old tomorrow.
It's been quite a year. Parts of it have been amazing and I wouldn't change them for all the world; other parts of this past year I'd jump at the chance to have never have happened at all. Problem is, I'm not sure which parts fall into which category. Things which seemed hellish then feel OK now, while others that felt OK at the time fill me with sadness to think of them today. And there are the hellish moments that stayed hellish, and the good moments -- all too few -- that still feel good. It's sort of like that scene in City Slickers, when the three guys are describing the best days of their lives, and one of them describes the day he finally stood up, as a teenager, to his abusive father (if memory serves). One of the other guys then says, "That's your best day? What's your worst day?" And the first guy, says, "The same day."
Well, that's what I think about when I think about strollers these days.