Months before Caleb was due to arrive in this world, we’d make the routine stops to Babies R Us. I’d spend about five minutes being excited about changing pad covers and diaper genies then retire my pregnant belly to the good ol’ brown corduroy rocking chair in the middle of the store. I’d rest my feet up on the ottoman and glide in peace and comfort as Luke would scramble from aisle to aisle scooping up the basics for this little boy, who we thought would need EVERYTHING.
All I knew was that I needed that chair. What a great marketing ploy. Give a pregnant woman a comfortable place to sit in a madhouse baby factory, and she will end up taking that chair home. And I did. Weeks before Caleb was born, the chair found its spot in the corner of his mustard-colored nursery, and I sat on it many evenings staring at his empty crib and the green letters painted above it. C-A-L-E-B. A boy I didn’t know, but who I could feel every moment of every day. His new, unworn baby clothes were folded neatly in his dresser and hung perfectly in his closet. There was so much anticipation.
That chair saw a lot. It was the place Caleb and I "slept" during his first night home – I sat upright, drifting in and out of sleep, cradling my partially-swaddled newborn with tears dripping down my cheeks – both anxious and in awe of our new realities.
I sat in that chair when Caleb had his first major temperature. I still remember holding him tightly as his burning body shuddered and shook and I trembled almost simultaneously with worry and fear.
And we spent so many dreamy times together in that chair, reading books, willing sleep, and staring into each other eyes. The scene around us constantly changed as he grew from a little nugget that fit in one arm to a little boy on my lap. We rocked, we laughed, we sobbed and we devoured the love that grew exponentially between us each day.
When the time came for a little sister to enter the picture, I knew her nursery would be full of pink and pretty, but I also knew I needed a new chair just for her. We found a simple pink upholstered rocking chair at a good price on Craigslist and voila. Nursery made. I remember rocking her one day and being filled with the most indescribable love, but wanting to intentionally remind myself that this was it. We were done at two. No more pregnancies, no more newborns. I held her in her fuzzy blanket and said to myself … “No matter how much I love her, and how much I love this – we are done. DONE. No more babies. Remember this moment later when you have baby fever.”
I still try to remember how I said that to myself. Especially as the years fly by, the gray hairs pop up, and precious new babies are being born around me. Their smells, their tininess, their innocence. All they do and all I miss. I wonder how I ever knew anything about anything before I met Caleb and Kenzie. It just somehow doesn’t seem possible. And now they are becoming real life little humans that have homework and sports and opinions and proclivities. And neither one of them needs me to rock them anymore.
The other night I sat on an ottoman beside Kenzie’s bed, scratching her back as she drifted off to sleep. I looked around at her big girl room with gold dots on the ceiling and bold colors splashed around the walls. Caleb’s brown chair had been long gone- not even making the move to our new house two years ago. But Kenzie’s chair still sat in the corner of her room. I thought carelessly about how we really needed to sell it. I thought how we could easily fill that space with a cute table or fun teepee. Then, I started thinking about how much we’d price it for and what the listing would read. Something like:
“Adorable pink rocking chair – perfect for a little girl’s room.”
“Adorable pink rocking chair – perfect for a little girl’s room – in fact, we loved it in ours.”
“Adorable pink rocking chair – perfect for a little girl’s room – in fact, we loved it in ours. We wouldn’t even be giving it up if our daughter hadn’t outgrown it.”
“Adorable pink rocking chair – perfect for a little girl’s room – in fact, we loved it in ours. We wouldn’t even be giving it up if our daughter hadn’t outgrown it. In fact, we are NOT giving it up, because she is STILL our baby and we still have some irreplaceable memories tied to that chair that I’m not ready to just “sell” away. Sure, she’s 3, almost 4. But maybe someday she’ll want to be rocked again. So we still need it. Disregard. Sorry. And once I rocked in that chair with her in my arms and I told myself no more babies after her and to never forget that I MEANT it in that moment. But it happened. I forgot. And you will , too. If you’re reading this post and wanted this chair for a baby you’re about to have – rock the heck out of that baby and give no thought to time and “I should be doing this or that” and don’t make yourself silly promises you can’t keep. Just stare at her. And cry if you need to. And remind yourself that the lows will pass and the highs you will miss terribly one day – but they’ll stay in your heart forever.”
Those glorious days with your babies that are sometimes long and hard and feel never-ending, DO actually end. Sure, they give way to different, equally glorious days, but they are still ... different. You can always drift back and bask in a memory's sweet glow, but you will never again live in that time, in that moment. Why is that so hard sometimes?
So. By the time I processed all of these thoughts about a chair (#somuchmorethanaboutachair), my little girl was sound asleep. I slid my fingers through her hair, let my gaze linger for a bit, then walked out the door, brushing past the chair that is staying put. At least for now.