I was recently granted the chance to purchase a secondhand quad stroller, and immediately called the woman listing it on Craiglist and said, "Yes, please, pick me, and I'll come today with cash?" Now the kids and I can take walks again (thank you, Lord, for your blessings) in an amazingly cool vehicle that I call "the Rickshaw" and my husband calls "the Hummer" and my eldest simply calls "the monster stroller".
(I wish I could put in a link, but Blogger is not being kind to me at the moment and my tech guy - that is, Adam - is not quite home yet to help me out. But Google "Foundations quad stroller", and you can see a picture of the blue beast which we did not - I hasten to add - pay as much for as the price next to whatever picture you're going to find is going to suggest.)
There are a couple of things about this stroller, and I have to go back a bit to explain one of them.
You see, our twins were premature, and so are pretty vulnerable to illness this winter, particularly a nasty bug called RSV. It's a virus most people get by the time they're two, and most people just experience it as a nasty cold. But our girls didn't have the last seven weeks in utero that most kids get in which to develop their lungs, so they're still internally playing cattch-up, and, with airways much smaller than most babies their age, have a much greater chance of getting very, very sick with RSV. It can even kill, God forbid.
So, we had the fun of trying to decide how careful we were going to be this winter about exposing them to other children, taking them out in public and all of that.
It's so strange, because with my older two, I was the sort of mother who was back in church the Sunday after I gave birth, and who didn't worry about a snotty nose. But with the twins, a snotty nose could easily turn into something much worse. Still, it was weird to have to make a decision that boiled down not to, "what's the absolute right answer?" but to "we're going to have some risk; how much do we want?"
We didn't want to be paranoid, but as we prayed about it, I began to have these pictures going through my head. The idea of staying cooped up all winter sounded nightmarish, but as I asked the Lord for wisdom in this situation, the pictures in my head were all of green pastures and peace. I felt like He was reminding me of the Jubilee year, when the pastures are allowed to lie fallow, and the ground that has been worked over too long is allowed its rest. This was what this winter of staying in could be to us.
It seemed He was saying that we ought to take this winter quarantine as a gift from His hand, that it was meant to our family as a blessing and not a curse, that it was to be a chance to be what we literally were not last year this time: to be together. (And, weirdly, the quarantine time will last from Nov. 1 to the end of March. Which is exactly the time last year from when we found out we were having twins and that something was wrong to when they came home from the NICU.)
Last year, for over two months, I was away from either my older two or my younger two children. And for half of that, also away from my husband. We were not all together.
This winter, we will be very, very together. And though it seemed like overkill to me, I heard our Father telling me to be at peace about it. So I said, okay.
And the very next morning, I got this quad stroller. That I'd been looking for for months. It was as if He said, "see? I'll take care of you."
This stroller means that this winter will be easier. I can get out with all four kids, without exposing them to germs. It means we can take long walks and avoid cabin fever. Walk to the park, and let the older ones run around the duck pond and get their wiggles out. It means that when I need to, I can run to the store, and by dint of keeping them all in the stroller and Purelling my hands afterward, make that a not-too-risky venture (no germy shopping carts). It makes it much less bleak.
So, there are many thoughts in my head about this quad stroller. I'm walking again, and that means I'm well on the way to getting rid of that last five pounds from the girls' pregnancy, that was hanging on without my regular exercise (I've always lost weight from pregnancy by walking with the kids). It means that I got to take the kids to a park where they could see herons and kingfishers, along with the more normal ducks and geese. It means that I was able to pick flowers from the roadside to fill the vases in my house (yes, even in the suburbs, pretty things peek over the walls into public space - I love it!). It means that the babies get to get out in a winter when they would otherwise have only seen the inside of our house.
But, foremost, it is a reminder to me to be grateful to the God who calls me to obey Him for His glory. And not just for His glory, but, as the prayer book says, for His glory and for our good. Praise Him!
peace of Christ to you,
p.s. I don't know where in the prayer book it says that. I'm just pretty sure that's where it landed in my head from!