“Oh my God, the room looks great!” I say, taking in my one year-old niece’s new room in their new house.
It is pink but not frilly. Simple, clean, tasteful. There’s a white crib, and some book shelves holding some worn and well loved books. A typical dresser with a changing table lines the wall.
As of today, there’s also a new pink flowered mini chair for her to sit on that I just bought as one of her birthday presents. But the thing that catches my attention, the thing that draws my eye is a slightly beat up rocker in the corner of the room. The cushion is a muted green and beige, somewhat out of place, yet fitting in quite nicely.
The chair and I go way back. Over 10 years ago, it sat in our city apartment.
I nursed my first baby in that chair. I slept in the chair. We slept in the chair. As time passed, we read together in the chair, favorites like A Time to Sleep and Brown Bear, Brown Bear.
We moved to the suburbs and the chair moved with us. It got a new room and a new baby to hold. We spent even more time together because this baby really needed the soothing of both mommy and chair, especially at 2am.
When my third son was born, he too enjoyed the bonding of mommy, baby and chair. He barely even noticed, his face squooshed to a boob, that often he would share his space with his brothers who loved nothing more than to climb all over mommy exactly when she sat down to nurse.
As the years passed and my babies grew, we used the chair less often, preferring to hear Go Dog Go and Are You My Mother? in their big boy beds.
The chair was moved to the den, where every once in a while, a little boy and I would sit just to cuddle and rock, cuddle and rock. But it wasn’t often. Usually it was just our cat curled up there, impersonating a throw pillow.
So when my sister-in-law mentioned she could use a rocking chair to nurse her baby girl, I only hesitated a little. She should have it. My sister-in-law and sweet-faced and deliciously rolly niece needed a safe, warm place to snuggle. A place to read and cuddle. I let it go willingly but achingly.
Looking at it now, I clearly see myself (a little younger, a little more sleep-deprived) and each one of my boys in that chair. I could almost cry, but then I remember. My boys and I don’t need a chair for hugging. We’ve got our own arms.