The "rock-a-bye chair." That's what she's called. Silly, right? To name a chair, a piece of furniture. To know that she's a she. But she has a name. My old, worn, ugly recliner, smelling like a special place. A mix of shampoo, washed blankets, fresh air, faded material and nine years of life. She has stood guard in many rooms, enjoyed two different homes, completed two stints in storage, and rocked and soothed and calmed and made all better on more nights than I could ever count.
And I love her. I love what she represents. I love where she's taken my children and I. I look at her faded gray material, her worn wooden handle, her stains, and she means love. I have loved my babies in that chair. I patted bottoms and rubbed backs and sang lullabies as eyelids became heavy. I listened to stories and I read stories. I solved mysteries and disputes. I have cried tears and dried tears. I have raised three children in that chair.
She is the chair I tried so very hard to nurse my first born in. The chair my tiny, hungry baby and I cried in when it just wasn't working, but stubbornly I wouldn't give up. She was also the chair that felt the sweet relief of abandoning what I thought I had to do for my baby, for doing was what was right for my baby. She felt us relax and find nourishment the best way we could.
She is the chair that I spent middle of the night hours in, holding and crying over my five day old boy as I watched the horror of Hurricane Katrina unfold on the television before me. And months after that disaster, she is the chair I went to in attempts to get my little boy back to sleep night after night. After night.
She is the chair I went to so I could hold on tightly to my youngest who needed to sleep upright for so many weeks, just shy of five months old and so ill. Syringing liquids into her tiny mouth, tracking intake and output and knowing that we would be admitted to the hospital once again.
And all the while we rocked, and soothed and knew it was alright.
It wasn't but a few weeks ago, when I could make up a bedtime story for my youngest, and sing one or two songs as she drifted off to sleep. I could bury my nose in her wild but beautifully brown hair and smell lavender. Or apples. Or vanilla. I could kiss her forehead a million times simply because the top of her head was just below my mouth. She would snuggle beside me, legs across my middle, her sleepy head on my shoulder. Her breathing would steady and she would ask one more question about our day. We would watch the stars. She would ask me to pull back the curtain so she could see the moon. And I had the privilege of watching it all happen as we rocked together in the chair.
But now. Now she is quickly approaching three. She's a pistol. She's fighting sleep. And she no longer needs the chair, even if I do. Now she wants to fall asleep in bed. Stretched out, not touching, not snuggled conspiratorially under the covers. There, but not really together. She can no longer get comfortable in the chair, in my arms. It is as if she is leaving me for something bigger. Something less soothing. Something less...us.
On occasion I will rock my children in our chair again. We will stuff ourselves into the chair to talk about bad days at school, or hurt feelings, or the unfairness of life, of disappointment. Our legs will become entwined to read a story or just sit and be together.
The "rock-a-bye" chair is entering retirement. She's still a comfortable beast. She's a friend, she is a constant, a part of us. And she knows. She's got wear and tear, and squeaks and grinds. But even her noise is rhythmic and repetitive and part of the music of my night. I will miss every part of rocking my children in our "rock-a-bye" chair.