A pregnant mother of three needs to sell her stroller to feed her three children after she was abandoned by her husband.
Anne Sargent sat on her kitchen floor and cried. It was past midnight, and it was the only time she could allow herself to show her pain — when her three children were asleep upstairs.
Anne felt the baby move and placed a tender hand on her belly. “I’m sorry,” she whispered to her unborn child. “I’m doing my best, but it’s just not good enough…”
Just two months ago, Anne had been a radially happy wife and mother, confidently expecting the birth of her fourth child, and confident in her place in the world and her husband’s love. That woman was gone.
Derek had come home one night and told her he was leaving, just like that. “But why?” asked Anne. “I don’t understand, I thought we were happy!”
“YOU were happy!” Derek cried. “YOU, not me! All you did was have babies and fuss over them, now there’s one more on the way!”
“But you WANTED children!” Anne protested. “You were happy every time I was pregnant…”
A family is built on understanding and mutual respect.
“Happy?” screamed Derek. “Happy that you gave all your love and attention to the kids? All I was to you was a paycheck! Well, that’s OVER!”
So three months after Anne announced her fourth pregnancy, Derek was gone. Anne immediately went out and found herself a part-time job at a local grocery store.
The owner would have been willing to give her a full-time job, but for that, Anne would have needed to pay a sitter for her three boys and that would have consumed most of her salary, so she carefully stretched her salary. But even with the child support check Derek sent, it just wasn’t enough.
Anne started selling some antique china she’d inherited from her grandmother and that paid for the utilities for a few months. Then she sold a silver brush-and-mirror set she’d had since she was a little girl, and that paid for groceries. Little by little, as her belly grew, Anne sold her treasures to keep her family safe and fed.
Then one day, there was nothing left to sell except bric-a-brac. Anything of greater value was gone. Anne looked at the old stroller she’d brought up from the cellar.
It had been hers when she was a baby and had been used by each of her children in turn. It was very old, probably from the sixties, but it was in mint condition.
She ran her hand over the roses painted on the side and bit back her tears. She needed it for the new baby, but she needed the money even more.
She thought about getting a good price for it down at the flea market. Vintage items were always popular… And so she took the stroller to the flea market, and one of the dealers gave her $50 for it. Not much at all, but every cent helped.
Anne walked away, sure she’d never see the stroller again, but she was wrong. Two days later, she opened the front door and saw the stroller on the porch!
There was an envelope inside and Anne opened it and read: “Please call me.” The message was followed by a phone number. Anne called the number ad a woman answered her.
“Hello?” Anne said. “Are you the person who left the stroller? How did you know who it belonged to and where I live?”
“Derek told me,” the woman on the other side said. “I’m Grace Robbs. I think we should meet.”
An hour later, Grace was sitting on Anne’s sofa sipping tea. She was a pretty woman, six or seven years younger than Anne, and she looked very unhappy. Her pale skin was blotched and her eyes were swollen as if she’d been crying.
“How do you know Derek,” Anne asked, even though in her heart she already knew the answer.
“I was his girlfriend,” Grace said.
“Was?” asked Anne. “You broke up?”
“Today, as a matter of fact,” Grace said and started crying. “I didn’t know…I didn’t know about you or the children, or the baby… I found out I was pregnant, and I didn’t know how to tell him…”
“So I went to the flea market with a friend and saw this darling stroller and I bought it. I put it in the middle of the lounge and tied balloons to it with a message: ‘Hello Dad!'”
“But he wasn’t happy like I thought he’d be. He started screaming and asking where II got the stroller and if his stupid wife had given it to me. He asked if it was a joke.”
“He told me to take it right back, that he didn’t want to know about your baby. So I told him: ‘It’s for OUR baby.’ and that’s when he went crazy.”
“He accused me of wanting to trap him and said he already had three brats with you and one more on the way, and he didn’t want my baby. He told me to get out and come to you.”
“He said: ‘Might as well have all the breeding cows under the same roof.’ I’m so sorry, I didn’t know about you, I guess I didn’t know him at all!”
Anne got up and put her arm around the crying girl. “It’s okay. It’s going to be okay, you’ll see.”
“He’s kicked me out,” Grace said quietly. “I have no family here and nowhere to go. I have a job, but with the rents in this city, I can’t afford to live alone, and who is going to want a pregnant roommate?”
“I will!” Anne said firmly. “I need a tenant because what I earn isn’t enough, and I can’t work full-time because I can’t afford a babysitter for after school.”
“But…” Grace’s face lit up. “I work online! I can take care of the kids after school. I love kids!”
“So I can take a full-time job?” asked Anne, delighted. “The owner of the grocery store wants me to manage it for him. With your help, I can! And you don’t have to worry about stuff for the baby. After three kids I have enough for an army.”
Grace smiled through her tears. “And we have the stroller too…” she pointed out. “Are you sure? It’s Derek’s baby…”
“No,” Anne shook her head. “It’s YOUR baby, and my children’s sibling, that is all that matters.”
The two women settled into a new life together, and when Anne’s baby was born, Grace was there. When it was Grace’s turn four months later, Anne held her hand. They became a real family and raised their five children together.
As for Derek, he had several failed relationships and eventually came knocking on Anne’s door. He was shocked when he saw Grace there and asked to speak to Anne. “What do you want, Derek?” Anne asked.
“I miss you, babe…” Derek said.
Anne stared at him for a long moment then said, “Sorry, so not interested!” And she closed the door in his face.
What can we learn from this story?
If we work together, we can overcome any problem. Anne and Grace couldn’t survive alone, but together they were an unbeatable team.
A family is built on understanding and mutual respect. Anne and Grace forged a family out of their friendship and mutual support.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.