Our youngest (and last) of 4 children turned two recently. And since he was what I like to call a “surprise miracle,” he found himself sharing a room in what was once solely our home office.
At this 2 year milestone, it came time to accept the fact that it was way past due to sift through and donate all of the infant paraphernalia he has long outgrown. Let me tell you– there was stuff EVERYWHERE in this shared room. Filing cabinets, printers, rockers, pack and plays, swings, computers, bureaus; and smack dab in the middle of the room was our oversized glider and ottoman that has seen the best and the worst in this tired mama four times over.
I managed to get through the majority of items to donate; THEN, I got to the glider. We certainly had no further use for this big, comfy chair that didn’t fit anywhere in the house anymore; and the truth was, I hadn’t sat in it or rocked any of my babies in it for over a year. Yet, I found myself gliding in it and having some emotional feelings about letting it go.
You see, in this messy, beautiful world of parenthood, there is SO much we have to let go of, that we can’t hold on to anymore. That’s when the thoughts (and the tears) started pouring in of times in this chair…
In this chair, I have soothed cranky, crying, upset, and colicky babies. I have cried tears of exhaustion and frustration when nothing seemed to make them happy. I have tried my best as I attempted every hum, every soft song, every pat and rub on their backs to ensure they are ok, assure them that mommy is here for them and will make them feel better.
But the reality is, they are all growing and realizing they don’t always need their mom or dad all the time. They are learning to self-soothe, to calm themselves, and will develop various coping techniques of their own for many areas in their lives.
In this chair, I have watched my children in wonder and amazement as I read to them. They held on to my every word and soaked in the stories and lessons being told of countless bedtime stories.
But the reality is, they have and will all learn to read themselves and make their own choices as to when, what and how often they want to read. They will learn to interpret stories and lessons all on their own.
In this chair, I have fed my babies; given them nutrition and provided a means of health and survival. I have fought through tears and pain when working together to breast feed. I have also fought through tears of guilt when I resorted to bottle feeding. I have grown myself in this chair, realizing not one or the other is best; instead, what is best for that particular child and myself is what matters.
But the reality is, my children are starting to make their own nutritional choices and will continue to do so in a greater capacity as they get older. Letting go of the control of every ounce of nutrition and every nutritional choice they make is inevitable to us parents.
In this chair, I have collapsed after long, exhausting days and have questioned if I’m doing this whole motherhood thing the best way. Am I making the best choices? Should I be doing things differently? Most days, I lose my cool at times and am not as patient and put together as I’d like to be.
I have also felt moments of pride when feeling like I mastered a tough day and remind myself that not every day will be a success but to soak it all in and enjoy it when it is.
But the reality is, none of us parents are perfect or have the right answer for everything. Our children won’t look back and be upset that we weren’t “perfect” or the “best,” what they will remember is how we made them feel; and I hope that is loved.
All told, this chair is so much more than just a chair that should be donated… it is a reminder of all we gave and continue to give to our children in hopes that it will mold them into good kids, good friends, good adults, good spouses, good people. As parents, all we can do is provide their needs, teach them by example, do the best we can, and hope they will make their own good choices when it comes time for that independence.
So, I’ve decided I’m not letting go of this chair. My plan now is to hold on to this baby; and one day, should my children decide to have families of their own, pass it down to them. I will hope that we have done our job as parents and shown them the way to teach their own children– and most importantly, to see the meaning and beauty in it all.