This is my beautiful rocking chair.
This was the first thing I brought into my nest when I first became pregnant, over 11 years ago.
Before the crib, before the bassinet, before we even bought any swaddling blankets…there was the rocking chair. I remember going to a huge warehouse filled to the brim with cribs and changing tables, and a little corner in the back filled with a variety of rocking chairs. I found one that I knew I would love forever. With beautiful cream embroidered upholstery, cherry wood frame and a seamless glide, this was the symbol of maternity to bring me into the realm of motherhood.
I am not sure what other women might do to usher in this new era. Perhaps buy maternity dresses, or decorate the nursery with gentle nature scenes.
There is a multitude of customs we hold for new mothers ranging from cakes
But for me, it was the rocking chair which brought me into the sleepless land of motherhood.
You know when you are in the shower, and you daydream about your acceptance speech when you win the Oscar for Best Actress? That was the same daydream I had about this rocking chair. I thought I would spend the rest of my life rocking babies in this chair, and when they were grown and in college, they would come home…and see the cream and cherry wood chair that was imbedded in their childhood, and gasp. “I remember when Mom held us in that chair,” they would say, with a little sentimental tear in the corner of their eye. “So many years were spent rocking with Mom,” they would remember so fondly.
Truthfully, that is what I had in mind for myself in the beginning. Simply holding my baby, and rocking her to sleep.
There were,indeed, many years spent rocking babies in this chair. I remember holding Glenn in the mornings, letting him wake up on my lap before breakfast. I remember rocking Nova after she fell and scraped her knee. I remember years of nursing in this rocking chair.
The magical land of motherhood can be so beautiful and serene…in the distant future, or in the distant past. But in the present?
“I have stitches in places they never mentioned in Health class.”
This symbol of motherhood and magical maternity, during the very present “now,” has also been sitting isolated next to my nightstand holding laundry for quite a few years.
So, in a most inevitable moment, while Ben and I were discussing our great move, came the time when words were spoken. Words about “not taking the rocking chair” with us when we move. Possibly “leaving it behind“…to which my reaction was:
Now, granted, I understand why we wouldn’t take it.
For the past year, at least, it has not been rocking me and my babies. I haven’t spent every morning holding Glenn as he slowly wakes up, as I did when he was little. There have been no babies to nurse for the past few years.
Instead, I have been piling clean towels and jackets upon my symbol of maternity. So, naturally it will be considered as something we don’t “need” to take with us.
Perhaps, though, this is something more profound than just letting the rocking chair go.
Maybe I am having to face the reality that I am really leaving a season of motherhood behind that I have grown quite accustomed to. The season of baby clothes and diapers, tenderly holding my babies while they fall asleep. By now, my youngest is 3 year old and far too big to carry for long periods of time. I have no use for swaddling blankets or diaper genies. Gone are the days of bibs and cribs.
I wonder if letting it go will help me usher in a new season of childhood. Maybe letting the rocking chair go to another home will help me to let go of baby curls, bottles and blankets.
I don’t know if any mother is truly ready to let their babies go, in the end. When the young man signs up for the Marines and is flecked in uniforms and boots, I don’t think his mother sees him as a young Marine. She sees him as her 8 year old little boy heading off into a big world without her. When a young woman gets into her car to drive herself off with a couple boxes of belongings to begin her career in college, I imagine her mother wonders if she remembered to pack her pink tea set, just in case she needs it in the afternoons with her friends. There is something quite gripping about motherhood that keeps me from letting some things move on easily.
Ushering motherhood into my life was something that changed everything about me, and I just don’t know how ready I am to let some of it go.
Still, maybe I will fight to keep this rocking chair, to usher in the seasons to come of rocking my grandchildren to sleep.