Abandoned Teddy Bears and Phantom Strollers

The fact that today we all carry phones with high definition cameras is both annoying and amazing.  On the annoying side, hardly anything goes undocumented.  The cookie I ate off of the street or the time I pooped in the woods on a dare?  My memory against my brothers’.  The inability to leave one of our kid’s events without a photo shoot that would make Annie Leibovitz proud?  Rare.

On the amazing side, we are now all photojournalists capable of taking random pictures, anywhere and anytime.  Are they parenting related?  Even better, given that this is a parenting blog.

If we find occasion to lift our head up from our phones, we might just see a teddy bear slumped over on a picnic table behind a chain link fence…at dusk…not a human in sight.  Is this Ted, from the movie Ted, in the flesh?  Is it a construction worker’s bear-shaped lunch box?  Is some parent somewhere trying to piece together their day to figure out where on God’s green earth Teddy might be, a la Knuffle Bunny Free?  So many possibilities.

What's the story behind this bear?

What’s the story behind this bear?

Here’s another great example of parenting-related magic that one might find and photograph.  The stroller is not as close to the Jeep as it appears in the picture.  It is sitting in the middle of a grassy patch between a parking lot and a Starbucks drive through.

The phantom stroller, gladly left behind?

The phantom stroller, gladly left behind?

My guess on the back story?  It’s around 4 p.m. and time is running very short for some overworked mom whose husband is away on a business trip.  She needs to slam something, anything, caffeinated.  As she unbuckles her three year old daughter, the little girl throws a fit and insists that she bring her play stroller into Starbucks.  Relenting because she lost the will to fight three hours earlier, mom lets the stroller come into Starbucks.  While in Starbucks, the child realizes that she has left a book in the car that the baby doll NEEDS to hold.  The child throws another fit, escalating as mom is doctoring her coffee with enough sugar to get to the next caffeine/sugar hit.  Exasperated and annoyed at being judged by the other patrons (who are largely too young to be drinking coffee), mom drags the kid and the stroller to the car as she somewhat carefully balances her hot, sweet cup of life.  The drink goes on the roof as she buckles Satan into her car seat, with the door closing on the mini van just in time, making mom feel like Indiana Jones escaping one of an uncountable number of traps.  (It’s the little moments of adventure that remind her she is still alive.)  Mom grabs the coffee, jumps in the car, takes a hit (which immediately dulls her pounding headache, just enough to offset the screaming).  She speeds off to pick up her other child, completely ignoring that her daughter is screaming about leaving the stroller.  Upon arriving home mom realizes her error, making up a harmless lie to cover for herself.  Smiling inwardly, she feels deeply satisfied that this curse of a toy is out of her life.  Meanwhile back at Starbucks the stroller blows in the wind, as if pushed by a ghost nanny.  A dad happens to look up just in time, and snaps a photo.  A blog entry is written.

If we find occasion to lift our head up from our phones, we might just see a teddy bear slumped over on a picnic table behind a chain link fence…at dusk…not a human in sight. 

The only absolutely true part about that story is me taking the photo and writing the blog.  The rest?  Well, it’s probably 80% accurate.  Regardless, it’s a parenting moment that would likely not have been captured in the age of Kodak.  Annoying or amazing?  Well, I had fun writing about it.  Does that count?  If the person who left the stroller, or even better one who knows the deal with Teddy, reads this and closes the loop?  Now that would be truly amazing.