I got out of the car with my 3 week old at the airport at 5am. I put him in the stroller, waved goodbye to my mother, and started inside to the ticket counter. As I turned the stroller I noticed the wheel was flat. And it sort of… fell off. No time to waste, no other way to carry the baby, and an entire day in D.C. ahead of me, I nearly started crying. But, with an impending flight I had no time to waste.
The line was long, the baby was hungry, my scarf did not cover the milk flood that was my shirt. No big deal. There were only a few hundred other people in the security line with me as I attempted to nurse, walk, and push the stroller. I’m sure no one noticed.
The reason for my day trip to the nation’s capital was for immigration. I needed to get my baby’s Australian passport before returning to Sydney. The Australian consulate is, apparently, reluctant to join this century because I had to fly to D.C. in person to be verified instead of using that newfangled world wide web. At the time I only had a double stroller so I borrowed a single one to do some sightseeing while there.
We flew up in the morning, had the appointment, ate some nice food in Georgetown, strolled past the White House, lost my cell phone in a taxi, and returned home that evening. The baby was 3 weeks old and I was still physically recovering, but it was a pretty good day all in all. If you ignore the fact that the tire kept falling off. All over town.
Here’s what I learned when I had a flat stroller tire in D.C.
1. We should listen to wise advice.
My friend who loaned the stroller gave me wise advice. “Be sure to blow up the tire,” she said. In fact, she even offered to do it herself, but I shut her down because I hate to be a bother. Well, let me tell you what was a bother… having a flipping flat stroller tire while playing the tourist all over town.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard good advice and opted to follow my own mind. Even when I knew those guiding me were wiser than myself. With maturity comes the knowledge that it’s a good idea to defer to someone with more life experience. Or to defer to the instruction manual for IKEA furniture. Or to listen to mentors who tell you they are worried about your choices.
We need to listen to good advice. We need to let people help us.
2. Even when things should be good, life throws us curveballs.
It was good fun taking only one child on a day trip. Seeing the capital again, eating in a nice restaurant, and getting a change of pace is always a good thing. Aside from waking up hideously early, I was excited! And then it took 3 minutes for me to figure out how to steer the stroller without the wheel falling off every 3 feet. Even when things seem to be going so well, life will still throw us drama. It’s just not true that only drama queens experience drama. Life is dramatic. Or it is if you’re really living it.
Many Christians feel it’s their right and privilege to lead easy, stress free lives. After all, they have a Savior! Respectfully, that’s rubbish. If your life was stress free and easy you wouldn’t need a Savior. We must not be so naive to think only good things will happen, but turn our hearts toward God who can help steer us through a strong wind, a tornado, or a hurricane.
Even the brightest days can have sudden downpours.
3. Sometime it’s a struggle to steer, but we can still move forward.
It was a major pain. I looked ridiculous bending down all the time adjusting the stroller. However, that stroller got us where we needed to go. It went up hills, around corners, over curbs, through the Smithsonian and in front of the White House. It was a lot more work than if I’d just listened to my girl’s advice, but I could still go forward. Sometimes in life we need to stop and re-evaluate. Other times, we just need to get on with it and keep going forward.
Even if it’s hard. Even if it’s annoying. Even if you are silently screaming inside, “Why, today of all days, did this happen?” There are seasons when you learn to steer with a faulty wheel. You learn to pay your bills when you are trusting God for every penny. You learn to depend on others when you just can’t do it anymore. You learn that quitting, resigning, or forfeiting is a lot harder in the long-run than just pushing through the middle.
In the end, after being up and about for 20 hours, securing a passport for my newborn, and having seen some pretty awesome sights, I slept like a baby.
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