I have five of them. Two on the front porch and the rest scattered throughout the house. There is something very soothing about the motion of a rocker. When I was still working a nine to five job (an extremely stressful one) I would come home, change out of my dress clothes, kick off my shoes, put on a t-shirt and jeans, and rock on the front porch. It was calming to my soul.
I think the motion of a rocker has everything to do with our body memories of childhood. Hand a woman a baby and see what she does with her body (ok, not every woman, and I’ll include men too because I’ve known many nurturing men). They rock in a rhythmic pattern that’s soothing to infants. And while few of us have conscious memories of those earliest years, our body has stored them all, including the rocking. The rocker in our bedroom belonged to my mother. It’s the one she rocked me in. I was rocked until I was sent off to kindergarten at the age of five. I still remember the songs she sang to me and I’ve sung these same songs to my children and grandchildren (remember Sleep Baby, Sleep?). There were a series of decorative oval indentions on the ends of the chair arms just about the size of finger tips and I remember placing my fingers into each of these indentions while my mother rocked and sang. The chair has been recovered several times since my childhood and the arm falls off occasionally, but the love and warmth I received from my mother is now a part of me and that chair is a daily reminder.
A second rocker sits in the guest room and it’s where I used to feed and rock my own babies. It’s been painted and the cane bottom is cracked where it’s been worn through but it’s still in good enough shape for rocking my grandbabies. In the winter I bring in my ferns and one gets to grace the chair until warm weather shows up again.
The living room houses the oldest of my rockers. Many years ago while visiting my husband’s parents, they took us over to his grandmother’s house (she was no longer able to live at home alone) and told us we could pick out some things we thought we could use. My husband struggled to decide what might be appropriate to take. I encouraged him to pick out things that had meaning to him, things that would remind him of his grandparents and could be passed down to future generations. One of the pieces I spotted was this rocker. The wood was in beautiful shape but the seat cover was completely gone and only the springs and straw remained. One of the rockers was completely broken off and the chair looked pitiful. When I told my mother-in-law that we would like to take the rocker she was shocked. Why would we want such a messed up piece of furniture? Well, because I could picture the generations of mothers in my husband’s family rocking their little ones in that very rocker. It’s really not about the chair at all but the love and nurturing it represents.
While each of these chairs serve as a functional piece of furniture, they also remind me to stop the rush of everyday life and just hold the little ones I love…and just rock.