Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The Dreaming Chair
When Limerick and I were expecting our first child, he gave me a wooden rocking chair for Christmas. I sat in that chair before she arrived, dreaming of who she would be and who I would be as a mother. Once she was born, I spent hours in that chair, rocking my girl ,singing every song that I knew, and making up new ones. As she grew, she would climb up on my lap and nestle her hair, with its bright copper lengths of hair, against me, and ask for songs and stories… past times she still pursues with enthusiasm.
Three years passed and a new baby came along. There were more hours in the rocker, more dreams to dream, and sometimes two sweet girls tucked into my arms, one with penny-bright locks and the other with fetching dark curls. The stories grew longer and more complex as the little girls revealed their interests and vibrant personalities. In later years, I sat in that chair alone and read aloud to my daughters, while they built with legos or did somersaults and cartwheels across the living room (furniture carefully arranged to allow room to tumble.) We began homeschooling and the rocker symbolized the focus of our life at that time: family, home, nurture, and lots and lots of stories and songs. We learned to try to maintain that focus in our family, even after our homeschooling years came to a close.
Six years after our second daughter arrived, our first son was born. My daughters had always had some wiggles and wails to get out of their systems in the twilight hours, but this new tiny boy was easy going and relaxed. He loved to be rocked too, always with that gentle, lazy smile on his chubby face. New songs, with rocket ships and funny frogs, were composed to suit his fancy.
Another three years, another baby born. This one was another son, a dark haired imp, full of energy and verve right from day one. Six and a half years later, I wonder how I got him to hold still on my lap as we rocked! Nevertheless, we did sit together in that chair, celebrating the mother and child bond with songs. His songs had to be especially soothing to transition him from the activity of day to the quiet tranquility of night. He woke in the night-time hours more often than any of our other children and I walked with him or rocked with him again, singing softly while moonlight streamed through our windows and the rest of the family slept.
Sometimes, when the children were outside or away from home, I would sit in that chair alone, rocking and remembering. I remember receiving the chair as a gift of love… How little we knew in those moments, and how full of hopes and dreams we were, my husband and I. I remember each child’s baby face with perfect clarity; the expressions of wonder and interest and that drowsy little flutter of lashes as sleep prevailed.
I have sat there dreaming my own dreams too… looking out my windows at weather painting my landscape, seasons passing, years rolling by. It may look like an old wooden rocking chair to someone else now that one runner is sadly damaged and in need of a costly repair, but to me it is a sacred place… irreplaceable and comforting… my dreaming chair.
photo: recycled from an earlier blog post, by Aisling, 2007