This rocking chair is what Mother's Day is all about for me. It's a Bentwood rocker. My husband bought it for me when I was pregnant with our first son, which means it has been in our home for 36 years.
When my first son was born in 1982, the only baby monitor I had was my own ears. His cry would wake me in the middle of the night and if it was my turn to get up, I'd hesitate for only a few seconds before crawling out from under the warm covers and crossing the hallway to his room, decorated in rainbows. I'd change his diaper, and then I'd carry him to the rocker where I'd sit and feed him by the light of the rainbow nightlight. The house would be so still and quiet. I felt like he and I were the only people in the entire world. As he ate, he'd make these sweet, little sounds that would make me smile. That's when I would relax just a little bit. I'd let down my guard for a few seconds and just breathe. I was such an anxious, uptight mother. I felt certain that I was doing everything wrong, but when I'd hear those sounds it would make me feel a little better. I'd rock both of us and after a few minutes, his eyes would close. Sometimes, mine would too.
I was rocking him in that chair the first time I saw him smile. It was the middle of the night; I'd fed him, but he hadn't gone right back to sleep like he usually did. I was holding him close to my face, just breathing in his intoxicating baby smell. He was staring at me; I was staring at him, trying to comprehend the enormity of raising a human being when he gave me a little smile. I remember thinking at the time that it felt like he was trying to reassure me. He smiled at me and that's when I knew. I knew that despite my overwhelming tiredness, and the constant worry that plagued me in those days, he and I would survive and we did.
The chair sat empty for several years. I'd look at it every now and then, and remember what it felt like to hold my baby. Words don't adequately describe the feeling, but I really wanted to experience the indescribable one more time. My second son was born a few days before my first son turned six. By 1988, baby monitors were a thing; of course, I had to have one. As it turned out, I didn't need a baby monitor because you could hear my second son crying from the other end of our block. He had colic. No amount of rocking in that Bentwood rocker would soothe him. Instead, I'd hold him with his head on my shoulder and his chest on my chest; his heart beating next to mine. I'd walk with him, back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, in his room decorated with Winnie the Pooh. He'd cry and I'd cry because he was crying. Eventually, he'd wear himself out. His tense, tiny body would relax, and he'd fall asleep with my arms wrapped around him. In those rare, calm moments I'd sit down in the rocker with him still perched on my chest, and study his beautiful, peaceful face resting next to mine and that's when I knew. I knew that despite the colic and the crying, he and I would survive and we did. As a matter of fact, he and I survived much worse than colic and we are better people for it.
My babies are men now, and I'm beyond proud to be their mother; however, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss those rocking chair days. No one sits in the rocker these days, but I'll never get rid of it. It's such a pain to dust, but I'll never get rid of it. I don't really have room for it any longer, but I'll never get rid of it. Every time I look at it I smile because it brings back such good memories of both babies who are wonderful adults now. The chair will always be in our family. I look forward to the day I can rock a grandchild in that rocker, and experience the indescribable one more time.