Much to my husband’s dismay, I am a “holder onto of things”. Naturally, as my son AB grew, I held on to things should we need them again down the road. When the road got longer and longer, and it became evident that we would not in fact need many of the baby items again, they remained in boxes or placed in a room out of my husband’s direct eye sight. I have a hard time letting go. So many memories and emotion wrapped up in tiny soft things. However, one not so tiny thing that I moved from room to room was AB’s glider. The one I spent a painstakingly amount of time choosing. I sat with my swollen belly in a floor model at the neighborhood baby boutique. Rocking, gliding, trying to decide which fabric in which color. Once our own was delivered, I came to know that chair quite well – the hours spent rocking, sleeping in it beside AB’s crib, upright, holding tight to the tiny person cradled in my arms. Nursing, every two hours for the first many months. The stories that were read and told in that chair are countless. Every month of the 17th we took pictures of AB propped up in the chair with his stuffie beside him, to mark each milestone. 1 month, 8 months, 15 months, and on and on. When we moved, I watched the movers carry it clumsily up the stairs as I directed them to the new room, no longer a nursery. It took its rightful place beside the window, much further from the crib now as the room itself was much larger. But stories continued to be told, and books read, as did nights of sleeping in it. Just not as frequently.
The chair became a place AB would climb into on his own, to read a book, to look out the window and watch the world outside. The space behind the chair was the perfect size for him to hide in. I learned to distinguish the noisy rock of the glider, which meant he was about to launch off it, seeing how far across the room he could jump.
When he was five we rearranged his bedroom, nothing significant, just created a better play space for him. Just like that I watched my husband Scott (not nearly as clumsily) carry the chair out of AB's room. Rip. It was literally happening before my eyes. Sting. We didn't have a replacement on hand, so that first night AB set up a blanket and pillows in the same spot and we read stories on the floor. He liked it, I was lukewarm. But the moments of togetherness were still there, just not as comfy. Recover.
He would occasionally ask if we could sit in the chair, which was now in our room and we’d snuggle in for books or just hugs. Most often it became a landing spot for my clothes, or a pile of clean laundry. Its presence was as comforting as an old friend though.
About a year ago, our beloved babysitter, the one who watched AB from the time he was three months old, was pregnant with her first child. One day, without much forethought I sent her a text, would you like AB’s glider? Her reply of We’d love it, came through and tears I was ill prepared for flooded from my eyes. Rip. Within a few days my husband loaded it into her car. With her swollen belly, she guided him carefully as he got it situated. Sting. Another few days and we received a photo of how perfectly it fit into her nursery, ready to hold a new mama and baby and create memories. And now, we get pictures of her baby girl on her monthly milestones, sitting in the light brown glider with a stuffed animal beside her. Recover.
In my own defense I do recognize when things should get passed along, I just don’t often go further with those thoughts. It’s not the thing itself but the memories tied to it.
We are in the midst of pulling out the carpet in our upstairs bedrooms to have the hardwoods refinished. When we were told that everything has to be removed from the bedrooms I went into survival mode, and started planning. Within a day I sold the guest room bed which we have long talked about replacing. I boxed up books, shoved pillows into cabinets, I was getting stuff done! We had also talked about selling AB’s dresser, the one we purchased before he was born and used as a changing table. It was super functional then – two drawers, five open cubby spaces, and two cabinets. Many sleepless nights were spent at that changing table, clumsy hands learning to change diapers in the dark and help keep a pacifier in while changing pajamas. It held diapers, creams, board books for chubby fingers. The older he got though the less functional it became. It didn’t have nearly as much book shelf space as he needed. The top drawer became a stashing spot for each piece of paper that he started a drawing on but wasn’t ready to throw away (where in the world does he get that!?) The bottom drawer held every single “toy” he collected from the doctor and dentist’s office as well as the happy meal toys from our yearly road trips to California. The top, no longer a changing table, became the spot to hold treasures from the tooth fairy, newest Lego creations, and anything deemed worthy of display. I asked him numerous times to go through it and figure out what to keep and throw away. Each time, it was a resounding, I need to keep it all. Seriously, who’s kid is he?!? This past weekend though as he helped my husband pull up carpet in the master bedroom, I set to work cleaning it. I snuck an overflowing trash bag out to the garage and deemed the dresser worthy to be sold. It’ll serve another family better I told myself.
I took pictures and placed an ad. Rip. A reply came quickly. Someone wanted to pick it up the next day. The buyer came over with a friend and together they hauled it out. I stood inside, watching them load it into the back of the truck, snow softly falling. I wiped my eyes as I watched it go. Sting. I walked up to AB’s room and he was looking around, noticing all the free space. Then he started to share his ideas about what kind of a bookcase he wanted, and where he could move his bed. I nodded my head, admiring his dreams and vision and told him the possibilities were endless. Recover.
I would look at the glider and remember how it felt to lean my head into it, baby to my chest, as I quietly prayed for sleep to come to both of us. I gently and lovingly folded each new item of clothing that went into the drawers of the changing table. I restocked the diapers, whenever he moved up a size, noticing how fewer fit as they got bigger. I blew raspberry after raspberry on the bare belly of my beautiful son nearly every time I changed his diaper. Gliders, changing tables, dressers, they become vessels unto which our memories pour so freely. They are backdrops in the story of AB’s childhood.
It’s happening faster than I’d like some days. Rip. AB is growing and grasping for independence. Sting. But for every memory I have to share, or story to tell, he continues to listen with open ears and an eager heart. And sometimes, he’ll even indulge his mom a little bit. Recover.