The chair creaked. Its wooden frame dug into my shoulder blades. My left arm rested uncomfortably on the solid wood arm rest, pinned there by the slight weight of her head. I rocked, ignoring the creak; ignoring the inches of distance we slid back with each rock. In a matter of minutes, I’d be up again, pulling the chair away from the corner, making space for a few more minutes of rocking.
At another time, these imperfections and discomforts would frustrate me. In future weeks, I’d lament the nostalgia that compelled me to keep this old rocking chair and wish that I had just bought the glider.
But not this morning. This morning, I wanted to be nowhere else but this chair in this moment.
Our room was naturally dark. Any sunlight that did manage to break through the buildings and houses across the street got caught in the tall tree outside our window. The light of the TV glared from the opposite corner of the room. Well made-up faces, Matt Lauer, some shiny person being interviewed, all smiling at us from the screen. I had turned the volume down low so as not to disturb the lulling in progress. Occasionally I challenged myself to see how much I could strain my ears… or my eyes… to understand the interview.
But mostly, I just looked down at her. Tiny, dark head resting on my arm. Big, deep, dark eyes wandering around, taking in every centimeter of our small corner. Swaddled in light pink cotton, sucking gently on the pale pink pacifier in her mouth. So much pink now. I’d never have guessed, but I kind of liked it. Pink. Girl. My girl.
I glanced up at the clock. 11am. At work they’d be gathering for the weekly department meeting. They’d be settling into their seats, more comfortable than the one I was occupying.
I smiled. I breathed in her undeniable baby smell. I snuggled her closer to me and stared down at her tiny face. Wrinkly baby skin. Her big, dark eyes closed now. Peacefully fluttering as her dreams danced before her.
The chair creaked. Its wooden frame dug into my shoulder blades. She breathed that deep sigh of sleep. But I kept rocking.
I originally wrote this post in response to Heather’s Use Your Words contest. The prompt for the contest was: Think about the time when your child (or one of your children) was born, when she first arrived home, or even before she was born. Is there a certain smell, sound, taste, texture, or picture that comes to mind? Start with that. Write it down. What other concrete details do you remember? Let your mind wander. Jump from image to image. Try to use as many sensory, concrete details as you can.