I stood in the rain, my frustration mounting. I muttered to myself as horns honked and strangers offered advice. I gave the stroller a hard kick. It was another episode of, Grandma vs. Stroller.
When my kids were little there was only one kind of stroller. It had a metal frame and a plastic seat. Now there are high performance “baby travel systems,” produced by luxury automobile makers. One brand has air-ride suspension and hand- stitched leather. My daughter’s model cost more than my first car.
It was Christmas time, when I decided to take the grandkids to the mall. As I pushed them along in their stroller, I said, “Yes” to everything: standing in the mile long line to see Santa, getting anything they wanted at the candy shop and playing with every single toy at the toy store. It was “How to Work Grandma Day.”
After several hours, we returned to the car. I buckled the kids in, and attempted to collapse the stroller. I had experienced stroller difficulties in the past, so my son-in-law had given me a refresher course that morning. I should have paid closer attention.
As I wrestled with the stroller it began to rain. A line of cars formed. Drivers were watching, and waiting for my parking space. A man yelled out his window, “Are you leaving today, lady?” I snarled at him, “Sure, if YOU want to get out here and do this.” Fearing for his life, he drove away.
A nice Mom, pushing her own high-performance baby carriage, asked if she could help. I pleaded, “Yes please.” She couldn’t get it to go down either. I tried shoving it in upright. It wouldn’t fit. I tried forcing it sideways, with no luck. My anger at the stroller grew.
My Grandson announced, “It doesn’t take Mommy this long Grandma. You must not be doing it right.”
I refrained from verbalizing the snarky, sarcastic comments at the tip of my tongue. Instead, I sighed and said, “I know buddy, I’m trying.” I gave myself Grandma Points for good behavior.
A jerk in a dry, kid-less car, indicated with a hand movement that I should hurry up. I indicated to him with my middle finger. No Grandma Points for that one.
Eventually I was able to FaceTime with my son-in-law. Patiently he pointed out where I needed to push and where I needed to pull. At last the stroller was down. People got out of their cars to give me a standing ovation.
I have heard about a magic machine that is inside the mall. You give it $5 and it gives you a fully assembled stroller. Now, I just have to figure out how to work the darn machine.