Monday, February 27, 2012

This Old Rocking Chair

I heard the story, the other day, that a Facebook friend knew a man whose wife was having a baby very soon.  She wanted to hire a "Night Sitter" so that they could sleep through the night while the "night sitter" got up and took care of the baby.  She was stunned.  So were a lot of us to hear this.  It wasn't that the mom was working and needed the help.  She was planning on staying home with the baby.  Of course, dad would continue to work.  Nevertheless, how many of our husbands would get up and help us with our babies at night?  The couple had family in town who was willing and able to help.  The mother to be simply wanted one because many of her friends either had one or had had one when their babies were born.  The man was complaining because the cost of such a sitter was $1000 per week!  (If only I had earned that much as a teacher to take care of other people's children day after day after day!)

Then I looked at the rocking chair.  It's almost 35 years old.  We  bought it right before Jenny was born.  We shined it up and put it in the living room.  Jenny was a good baby, but she managed to get her days and nights mixed up.  She was so sweet and mellow at night, you couldn't help but enjoy her.  Nick on the other hand was all boy from the day he was born.  He would sleep for 20 minutes at a time, wake up to be fed and stay awake for 2 hours!  That was his schedule.  He was just a happy, bouncing baby boy. 

I don't remember the number of hours I spent in this chair with my babies.  We'd be awake when everyone else in the neighborhood was asleep.  The soft glow of the night light in the living room, lit my way to the chair with the baby.  We'd rock and talk.  We'd rock and play.  We'd rock and look at the world around us.  We discovered our hands.  We held fingers.  We'd smile at each other.  Hours upon hours were spent in that chair.

When the kids grew a bit older and they'd get sick, we'd often find ourselves together in the rocking chair even during the dark hours of the night.  I'd rub aching tummies and sooth feverish brows with a cool wash cloth.  We'd take temperatures.  We'd drink the normally forbidden glass of pop that did help to sooth the aching tummies.  We'd count chicken pox blisters.  Once in a while, we'd even turn on the TV softly and watch until we went to sleep. 

There was no night sitter and no family close enough to help.  We did this, and it was very hard at times, especially when I was exhausted or sick, too!  The reality is that, in spite of the difficulties of being awake when you didn't want to be awake, I would never trade this special time with my children.  This is time that can never be replaced or lived again.  I feel blessed to have had this time.  I thank God for it! 

My children are grown now.  There is no more cuddle time in the rocking chair.  When their children are born, I am hoping that one of them will take it to their home to rock and care for their children.  We'll see.  Maybe they will have a special chair of their own.  However, no one or event can take that time from me!
I was blessed!

6 comments:

Kokopelli said...

I've never heard of a night sitter. I can understand that the one who works, can stay in bed at night, when baby cries. But being at home and having a night sitter, seems weird to me.

Beadwright said...

Hey I am really shocked at this woman. Yes getting up in the middle of the night can be annoying, however, those are the most precious times. When no one else is up and you and your baby are together. A "Night Sitter? shame on her for being so selfish. And thank you for sharing your memories.
Nicole/Beadwright

Stephanie said...

Mallory,
A beautiful description of the love between a mother and child. Well said!

Anonymous said...

I signed up for the wrong job for 23 years! To cuddle a baby at night is a blessing - yours, mine, anyones. It's an incredible joy and bonding experience. This selfish mother is going to miss an awful lot...how sad.

Pam @ The Blue Between said...

in other cultures, the extended family takes care of the baby while the mother recovers - up to a year! I can understand wanting a dula for the first couple of weeks if it's your first child and you don't have a mother figure to help you out in the beginning... but not long term, just until you get your strength back and figure out what you are doing... or you just take your baby to bed with you and you hardly have to get up at all except for a diaper change... unless you are bottle feeding, that would make the nights a little harder I would think. Of course, my sister bottle feeds and her babies all slept through the night very soon after they were born. I have no idea what that's all about, my baby almost never slept unless he was smooshed into me, he never let me put him down ;)

your chair is full of magic memories, what a very special thing. We don't have anything like that... I don't know why I never had a rocking chair...

Laney said...

I was blessed to have two children that slept through very quickly, my son at 6 weeks and my daughter never slept less than 6 hours a night, but on the rare occasions I had to get up in the night, whether they were poorly or teething or just grumpy, I cherished every moment, and now when they are big, strong and grown into nearly adults themselves and are throwing their teenage attitudes at me, I just remember them snuggled close in the soft light and peace and quiet of those nights. Never heard of a night sitter and frankly wouldn't want one, waste of money and waste of precious memories.

I love your story of the Rocking Chair. Ours is old and battered and in desperate need of a lick of paint or varnish, but its worn on the arms from constant use and now is used by the cat that is in her twenties and was a baby when mine were little. Precious memories in a rocking chair!