Our middle child, Bennett, is turning three this week and I’ve been thinking a lot about the rocking chair in his bedroom. We got it from a friend a few years ago and though it was like new at the time, it is starting to show its age. The fabric is worn in some spots and it has plenty of stains, but, most importantly, it holds a lot of memories.
Bennett and I have shared many moments in that chair. At bedtime, every night to this day, he rests across my body and falls asleep in my arms. I remember when he was small enough to fit comfortably within the confines of the chair, but now, as he lies down to go to sleep, his head covered in shaggy curls rests on one arm and his feet snug in his footy pajamas dangle across the other arm. That chair is the measure of how far we’ve come together.
And then there is the middle of the night. When he was smaller he would call out from his crib almost every night at one or two or three in the morning. I trudged upstairs to his room, half asleep, scooped him up and back to the chair we went. Most of the time we both fell back to sleep as we rocked slowly in the dark of night. Today, he still wakes up many nights. But now, he comes downstairs to get me. The clatter of his bedroom door closing and the thumping of his feet coming down the stairs are usually enough to wake me. I open the door to our room just in time to see him rounding the corner at the foot of the stairs. He trots down the hallway, clutching his ever-present gray blanket, his eyes heavy, and runs straight into my arms.
We head back to his room. Back to the rocking chair. I still fall asleep there more than I’d like. My neck hates me for it. But, really, it’s fine because I know these moments are finite. While it might seem like these days and nights will last forever, they won’t. Bennett is turning three and soon the bedtimes and the nights and the mornings will be different. Everything will be different.
I will remember so much from Bennett’s first three years. I will remember his kind heart, his ferociously strong will, his brilliance, his infectious smile, and the way he puffs out his chest when he runs, putting so much effort into each short stride. But perhaps more than anything I will remember the nights. When it was just him and me alone in a quiet room. Alone in our favorite chair.