I stare at that rocking chair. The arm and the legs are chewed up by one of the four dogs that have come through our lives in the past 13 years. The cushions don’t have much cushion left. The tiny room keeps exploding with more stuff so there isn’t much room left for that poor, aging rocking chair.
It really needs to go. But I don’t want to let it go any more than I want to let that 13-year-old walk up to the bus stop without me because she’s in middle school and she goes with her friends now because mom going to the bus stop or visiting school for lunch is just not cool at this stage.
I don’t want to let that rocking chair go any more than I wanted to let go of the 10-year-old, who decided she’s too old to sleep with mom anymore. She needs “her space,” and the space she left in my bed is empty now much like that rocking chair.
The last one I held in that rocking chair is letting me go too as he outgrew my lap and headed off to kindergarten.
I’m holding on and letting them go.
It’s heartbreakingly bittersweet to my momma’s heart. At one point, the days had felt so long as it seemed I’d spend hours throughout the day holding one child or another in that chair.
But as time passed, the time in that chair became less and less, and now, it sits there empty. There are no more babies to rock. There’s barely even a kid left to fit on my lap.
I sat in that chair, nursing, with exhausted tears on my face as I battled postpartum depression and sleep deprivation. I sat in that chair and prayed for my baby’s health. God visited me in that chair when I was so unsure and scared of what the future held for my baby. He met me in a dream in that chair.
I found peace in that chair when I’d settle in the darkness with an infant or toddler snug against my chest, holding them long past the time they fell asleep, content to just hold onto that time in my life a little longer. I held my babies even as they grew too big when they too needed a place that offered peace and comfort. That chair held us in the comfort of its scratched weathering arms as it aged over the past 13 years.
Letting go of that chair is like officially letting go of this season of motherhood of young babes wrapped snuggle in my arms.
I had dreamed of this freedom and return to my sense of self, and I was sure I’d jump for joy for this time as they all got older and independent. But instead, I find myself sitting here, much like that chair, unsure of my new purpose in their life.
That chair may be worn down and look like it’s barely holding on after years of use, but like the mother I was and am, there’s still so much it has left to offer. It can be a comfort in a new way in this new stage of motherhood where babies aren’t necessarily rocked anymore but where they know there’s always comfort within those worn arms that held and treasured so much.
It feels a little quiet and empty here on this other side of motherhood. Just like that chair. That chair held memories I never want to forget. That chair held a woman that, though bone-tired and overwhelmed, I never want to forget. She grew and she changed and became so much during her time in that chair.
It was there in that chair where God met me one night, where I felt my greatest peace, and where I went in my moments of greatest despair that I found my children’s mother. A part of me will always be in that chair, and I just can’t let her go.