When my grandmother passed away, almost five years ago, I remember gathering with my entire family in her living room. My Grandfather had passed away years before and now it was time to divvy up their belongings so the house could be sold. The things that they had collected over their lives, the items that we had all always associated with them and their home-it would all be undone. As we all gathered in that living room for one of the last times, crowded on the familiar green couch, the worn red love seat, and scattered across the floor, families took turns selecting items. It became more than just an auction of items. People took turns sharing stories about their connections to certain pieces, the memories that they held.
As the stories dwindled and the possessions claimed, a lifetime of memories dismantled in hours, there were a few items left that appeared to be unwanted. “We can donate them,” my Dad announced. My Nanny’s rocking chair was among this pile. I was stunned that no one wanted the chair that she had probably rocked each of us in at some point in our lives. Her favorite seat. I couldn’t bare the thought of the chair going to a stranger. So I took it.
The rocking chair sat in our basement for almost five years, untouched. But when we rearranged rooms and furniture to make room for our third baby girl, I asked Arnauld to carry the rocking chair up to the baby’s room. My Nanny’s rocking chair finally had a new home.
For the past few weeks, I’ve made a few half hearted attempts to try to get Rose to sleep in her crib instead of in our room. At four months old, she’s ready for a bigger sleeping space. So tonight, as I tried again to put her down in the crib, she looked up at me like I was crazy. Really? Her eyes said, You think I’m going to sleep here…by myself.
So I picked her up, ready to bring her back down to our room. But instead, I sat in my Nanny’s rocking chair and we rocked. As we sat there in the quiet together, my mind went back in time to when I was a little girl, back to Wilcoxson Avenue. I remembered sleeping over my Nanny and Grampy’s house and sitting with my Nanny in that chair as she rocked and hummed a lullaby. I could hear the song, her sweet voice, and the steady creak of the rocking chair. All the babies that she rocked to sleep while humming and singing in that chair.
My heart ached a bit as I rocked my baby to sleep in my Nanny’s rocking chair. I imagined what she would have looked like rocking my babies.