I sold my stroller this week. Now there is an empty space in my garage that I keep staring at.
The stroller was one of the few baby items I really researched. I knew exactly what I wanted. I poured over reviews, safety ratings and blogs to figure out exactly the right one to buy. I had a huge list of criteria that this perfect stroller needed. I was planning on running soon after my son was born so it needed to be perfect. I had this vision of me pushing my contented little baby through the park, while I ran for hours. He was going to sleep and coo at the scenery, and I was going to get back into the best shape of my life, because I would have so much time on my hands, you see.
The stroller the last piece of this imaginary baby and imaginary life I had been creating since before I got pregnant. It was a symbol of every fantasy I had created about parenting.
My baby was not a fantasy. If I am being really honest the early days of parenting (and some of the current ones) are a nightmare. A scary, dark, confusing and stressful time I would rather forget than dream about. Nothing about my fantasy came true. I felt like I had failed by not fulfilling this fantasy. I had clearly done something wrong ..
I clung to the idea of my stroller loving baby for months. I started to let go when I embraced babywearing, but I still kept it around. I still had a twinge of jealousy when I saw the moms jogging and pushing their sleeping babies around. What had they done right that I had done wrong?
Letting go is not something I am good at. I am stubborn and strong willed. I set out a plan and I make it happen. Parenting is not straightforward. Sure you can have great intentions and big picture goals but the getting there is messy and not very pretty. Babies are people. They have personalities, needs, wants, desires and goals of their own, which do not always mesh well with our plans.
The baby I dreamed and the baby that I got were very different. I love my son to the moon and back. He is perfect in every way. But he’s not my fantasy child. He has pushed me to become a person I didn’t know I wanted to be or could become. He opened up the door of my passion turned business for me. Yet still I see that empty space where the stroller was and think about that fantasy that did not materialize.
I struggle with accepting reality as it is. Don’t get me wrong I love my life. Yet some days I yearn for the fantasy.
I truly believe that fantasies are good for us. I think we should have goals, visions, expectations but I think we need to talk about how to let those go. So often we just dismiss our expectations as unrealistic or fantasies without honouring them or allowing ourselves the time to let them go. We are just expected to move on like our fantasy lives don’t matter.
I love my son. I love my carriers. I truly believe that carrying him gave us a bond we never would have had if my fantasy had come true. The feeling of his head on my shoulder and the memory of his body relaxing into my chest are some of the best feelings I will ever have.
This week I let one of my fantasies go. It hurt. That doesn’t mean the life I have or the journey I have gone on is second best. It is the life I was meant to have. I struggle with the struggle; letting go, while holding on.