“Don’t spin the chair! Look how you’ve ripped the whole back of it against the fireplace? This is such a special one, come on guys…”
The thing is though, once big brothers do a new demonstration, little brothers will eventually engage as well.
And so the toddlers also took their turn spinning that chair around and around, pretending it was a spaceship, or a boat, or a carousel ride.
Kids aren’t trying to always wreck your stuff, they’re honestly just living with wild hearts wide open and a zest for life oozing out of them.
My dear husband faithfully and repeatedly pulled out the hammer and nailed the loose nails in again. Not because he cared about the chair, he had never even liked that old thing since it was built for humans a good foot shorter than himself.
But, he liked me. That’s why he fixed it again and again.
I remember being pregnant with my first son nearly a decade ago and calling my husband from my archaic cell phone at the thrift store.
“Should I buy this chair that I’m sitting on, you know, the one that I can’t send you a picture of or face-time you about, since regular people don’t have that kind of technology in their pockets yet?”
He humoured me over the phone, his pregnant wife with alarmingly unpredictable hormones and a weird question.
“Um, smell it?”
Classic thrift store test.
$25 later, and I drove home with that little rocking chair in the back of our car.
I remember sitting in a neatly decorated bedroom that was awaiting our baby’s arrival. We didn’t know our baby would be the first of 4 boys. We didn’t even know he would be a boy yet.
I held my belly with two hands, like pregnant moms do, and talked to him while I rocked back and forth in that sweet little chair.
I spent a lot of time over the years sitting in that thing. It rocked babies and helped me read stories to my boys. It assisted me in time outs and brotherly separations for quiet reading time. And it moved.
Boy did it move. It moved upstairs and downstairs. It moved from the suburbs to the heart of the city. It moved into the bedroom, then into the den, and then finally to the living room.
That’s when it started to reach its demise. As soon as it was not pushed up against a wall the boys saw it for what it could be, rather than what their mom said it was.
And the spinning began. And the frantic rocking, and the occasional shrieks of, “Look what he did to the chair!”
And it fell over, and it started to squeak. And weird greasy metal parts started falling out underneath.
So today we took it apart, what was left of it anyway. And tomorrow it will be placed lovingly beside the dumpster where it will just look like discarded junk to all of the people walking by.
And I’m sad, because I’m a lady, and I always tell my boys that ladies sometimes just get sad about weird things like chairs, and baby blankets with holes in them, and all things sentimental.
I tell them that we cry when we’re happy and sad, and they look at me strangely with the face of their father, and they hear my words and try to understand.
The listening to me part must just make them hungry though, because they usually give me a hug and say, “Can I eat?” in response to my sentiment.
It’s just stuff to them, which teaches me to remember that even a special chair, is really in the end, just stuff. And stuff can be replaced, or simply remembered and appreciated as you move forward.
And besides, something worn and eventually broken, is also something that was used, and used well.
But it’s hard saying goodbye to things that carried you through so many crazy days and nights.
“I’m going to miss your chair Mom.”
“Me too buddy, but it’s ok. I still have you guys, and we can sit on the floor… it’s kind of like a chair, just way harder, and more spacious…”
We didn’t replace it and we probably won’t… and the upside is that we literally just gained a pile of floor space in our apartment.
But, to my sons:
I’m sure at some point when I’m older and frequently verbally nostalgic, I’ll talk about our old rocking chair that I loved and Dad couldn’t fit in, and that you boys spun around in wildly playing your games until it busted into pieces.
And by “at some point when I’m older,” I probably mean tomorrow.
Thanks chair. Thanks for serving your purpose so very well.