Thursday, December 23, 2010

The rocking chair

My life is not peaceful these days.  I'm not saying it's bad or unpleasant, but it's not peaceful.  My daily schedule is jam-packed and I'm up early and getting everyone dressed and fed and organized and making daycare drop-offs and then coming back to catch the bus to work and then working and then coming home to wrangle everyone until bedtime.  It's exhausting.  It doesn't leave a lot of opportunity to reflect or appreciate or even just feel, in a conscious and deliberate way, the intensity of the love that I feel for my family (particularly when they're driving me nuts and annoying the shit out of me).

I feel like it's bad to admit that I'm not always feeling the love.  It's not that I don't always love them -- I absolutely do.  But the feeling doesn't really permeate every waking moment when I'm careening from task to task and just trying to keep my life from spinning completely out of control.

The moments when I experience the proverbial loving feeling tend to occur in a particular place.

Before Zeke was born and we were stocking up on baby gear, I, like a million other soon-to-be mommies, purchased a rocking chair.  This particular type is actually referred to as a "glider," because it doesn't so much rock back and forth on a fixed curved base so much as glide forwards and backwards on a hinge that attaches to a fixed flat base.  But I never use the term "glider" -- it's a rocking chair.
This is just a stock photo I found on Google, but this is essentially what my rocker looks like.
Because furniture in Hawaii is crazy-expensive to either buy locally or ship in from elsewhere, we got our rocker on the cheap.  I went to the crappy local K-Mart in Kapolei, which I hated but it was close and the only other reasonable option was the crappy local WalMart in Waipio, which I also hated.  In their baby section, they had a basic white glider (with ottoman) for $89.  The cushions were thin and covered with a flimsy blue fabric, but it did the job (and when I got tired of the cushions, I simply covered them with a sturdier fabric that I liked).  I figured, it's functional, it serves a specific purpose and I'll only have it for a few years until the kids get a little older, then I'll get rid of it.

But I can't imagine getting rid of it now.  It is where I have had, and continue to have, my most intensely loving, focused, peaceful moments with my children.  The moments when everything calms down and I can just be with them and care for them and tune out all the noise.  Rocking and singing Zeke to sleep as a baby.  Calming Zeke down last week when he had a huge day, didn't nap and completely lost his mind from exhaustion at around 7:00 at night.  I finally got him to stop crying by sitting with him in the rocking chair and singing him a soothing song, at which point he fell asleep with his head on my shoulder and was out for the night.

The other night Josie was having a rough time.  Her daycare is closed for the last two weeks of December and she had spent the day with a babysitter and her schedule was off.  She was fussy and teething and nothing could make her happy, and she worked herself into such a state that there was nothing to do but let her cry and work herself out of it.  I carried her into the guest room, left the lights off and started walking the floor with her as I sang "Goodnight Irene" and "Angel Band."

She finally stopped crying and let me cradle her while she sucked on her fingers.  After about 15 minutes I went back into her room and sat in the rocker with her.  I sang a little bit but then as she became calmer and her eyes drooped I just held her close.  We sat looking at each other listening to the sound of the humidifier and the rhythm of the rocker.  She reached her hand up and caressed my face as I whispered to her.  I thought about how beautiful and sweet she is.  I wondered what she would look like when she got older.  I felt my heart almost burst out of my chest with intense love for her.  I felt blessed.  Long after the point when I knew I could put her in bed and she'd put herself to sleep without a fight, I stayed with her, just sitting and rocking.  Finally, I put her in her crib and she rolled over and went to sleep.

The rocker is definitely looking worse for the wear these days.  The fabric that I covered it with about two years ago is looking dingy and the cushions are lumpy and saggy.  But I'll just recover it again, maybe get some new foam.

I'm keeping the rocker for a while.


  1. Ahh, Wendy. Sweet. We got one of these - but a spendy one - and while it's not beautiful, it's one of my favorite pieces of furniture ever. It's ridiculously comfortable and peaceful, and while I don't attach the moments you do to it, I do plan to keep it forever and ever.

  2. I love this! Love the way you write. And this post makes me want to start using my rocker again.

    Hang in there Wendy, it's bound to get better soon.

  3. Lisa - I can't even imagine throwing it away.

    Laura - thank you so much!!