Putting together a room for our child-to-be and collecting many of the various and sundry things we’ll eventually need has been a bit by bit process. Big Papa and I have resisted doing up the bedroom entirely or purchasing some of the “big ticket” items (crib, stroller) only to sit and stare at them as months pass while we wait. Every now and again, I allow myself a few purchases, sometimes that reinforces the feeling that I’m “doing something” for the adoption and to keep it tangible, literally. On occasion, something pops up at a yard sale or in a store that I know we will need and is at such a good price (or free) that it seems crazy not to get it.
A few days ago I saw a used ‘Bob stroller’ on a moms group Yahoo listserv. I know they are decent strollers and costly new. This one was being sold for a great price and would likely disappear quickly, just like the used Stokke high chairs that sell within minutes. I fired off an “I’m interested” email with my cell phone number and left for the gym, fully expecting to come home only to find a new posting that read: “Bob stroller taken.”
Imagine my surprise when I discovered a message from ‘J.’ on my voice mail when I got out of my spin class. J’s message stated that I had been the first responder to the ad and the stroller was mine for the taking if I wanted it. I immediately polled a couple moms from my spin class who were milling around: “Would you buy a used Bob stroller?” One said yes and one said no. The ‘no’ was followed by: “Too risky. You don’t know the original owner and what the stroller has been through.” Fair enough, but I still wanted to check it out.
I drove over to J’s house and knocked on the door. The door opened and lo and behold, there was my friend, ‘T.’ “What are you doing here?” I asked. “What are you doing here?” he replied. A moment later, J poked her head out the door. T and J have a child together, however they live separately. I’ve never been to J’s house so it never occurred to me that the ‘J’ on the phone was this J just like it never occurred to her I was that Beth.
It’s been a number of years since T and I were close, but we’ve run into each other on occasion. The last time we chatted, Big Papa and I had gone over to T’s house to talk with him and J about parenthood. Their daughter was a couple years old at the time; they were both first-time parents at mid-40something and Big Papa and I were in the stage of our parenthood journey where we were still considering pregnancy using a donor egg. Our decision to head down the adoption fork in the road was still around the corner.
As it turns out one of the reasons they are off-loading kid stuff is J’s impending move to the San Francisco Bay area. Plus their kiddo, ‘N.’ is closing in on the age where she’ll no longer need her stroller (though in fairness N was quite vocal about her reluctance to part with it). J told me that it was bittersweet to be selling off N’s baby gear and it made her feel better to know the much loved (but still in fine condition) ‘Bob’ was going to a “good home.”
Knowing (and trusting) Bob’s former owner gave me greater confidence in the hand-me-down I was about to purchase and the karma surrounding it all put a smile in my heart. I felt like this Bob was meant to be my Bob.
Later that day, J emailed me to let me know eight women had contacted her hoping the Bob stroller might be theirs before she could post ‘Bob sold’ that afternoon. She wrote that if I hadn’t been the first person to respond to her Bob request she may have never known where we were in our parenthood journey. “And now when I think of the future life of some of N’s baby things, I can anticipate a whole other story about to unfold.”
I like to imagine that serendipitous moments, such as this one, are the world’s way of showing me I’m on the right path. And, while there are days when the wait feels like it’s dragging on forever, there will be other days when a door opens and a friend reaches out to lets me know everything’s going to turn out fine.