Sunday, May 13, 2012

the chair.

Mother's Day, the year 2005.

"I've got a surprise for you," he said. "Close your eyes." And he grabbed my hand, leading me into the bedroom he had locked me out of for over an hour.

I closed my eyes and smiled as I played along, doing my best to still walk gracefully in spite of my nine-months round and pregnant belly.  Due in two weeks with our first child, a son.

I heard the doorknob twist, and then he said,

"Okay, you can look now.  Open your eyes."

 My eyes swept the bedroom, looking for something out of the ordinary.  There was the cradle, with the brand-new baby bedding proudly displayed inside of it.  The small dresser full of soon-to-be-worn soft, tiny clothes.  A night table.  Our bed.  And then, I saw it.

Tucked to the other side of the bed, was a brand new tan glider chair.

"Surprise! Happy Mother's Day!" Ben said.  "I wanted to give you something you could use to rock our baby to sleep on the first night you came home."

The smile on my face grew wider as I reached over and hugged him, tightly.

"It's absolutely perfect.  I love it!  Thank you!" I replied, as I immediately sat down.

"You can recline and rock at the same time, there are pockets here on the sides to be able to store different things like baby blankets or whatever you want,"  he explained as I rocked and looked up at him.

"How can we afford it?"  I asked,  Freshly graduated from college, living in my parents' basement, barely making minimum wage, we were beyond poor.  This was the very first piece of brand-new furniture we had purchased; before this, everything we owned had been generously given to us or bought at a second-hand store.

"I saved up.  And Danny {his friend who worked at a furniture store} was nice enough to give me his employee discount."  

I sat there, and smiled at him, and rocked.  In that moment, I felt like a queen who couldn't want anything more.  I had no idea then, what that chair and I had in store for us.


It was the place Ben and I went to, when just weeks later we brought home a very small and very sick baby boy.  It was where I rocked this sick baby boy, back and forth, singing through his endless cries and frightening seizures.  It was in this chair that I sat as tears streamed down my face while my husband administered a priesthood blessing not only to this fragile baby, but also to me, who was completely overwhelmed.  I heard words of comfort and felt a renewed strength in this chair, as I dried the tears on my face and counted my blessings. 

One night, while I was taking a break from my singing/rocking duties, I overheard a song.  Sung so sweetly by the father of my child that I began to cry at the sound of his voice and the words of the song.  I came back into the room, closed my eyes and listened as my husband rocked in the chair with our little boy.

Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum
Struck by the sounds before the sun
I knew the night had gone
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn
The ocean wild like an organ played
The seaweed’s wove its strands
The crashin’ waves like cymbals clashed
Against the rocks and sands
I stood unwound beneath the skies
And clouds unbound by laws
The cryin’ rain like a trumpet sang
And asked for no applause
The last of leaves fell from the trees
And clung to a new love’s breast
The branches bare like a banjo played
To the winds that listened best
I gazed down in the river’s mirror
And watched its winding strum
The water smooth ran like a hymn
And like a harp did hum
Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum

I made him repeat the song over and over so I could learn the words as he rocked, and it became one that I sang to all of our children.  

It was in this chair that I slept for two weeks straight, holding my son upright because he could not sleep otherwise due to illness, as humid, cool air from the humidifier blew on us both, curling my hair with its dampness.  It was where we read books, and snuggled with his beloved bear.  

It was in this same chair that I sat, absolutely terrified.  

My tiny baby was now 18 months old, and I was being left alone with him for the first time in 3 days.  It was just after his 35 minute seizure, where he defied the odds by surviving, and surviving without any brain damage.  But I could not get the image of him out of my head, and was frozen with fear at the thought of it happening again. I could not bring myself to leave him on his own, so I stayed in this chair, in his room.  Watching him play, clinging tightly to him as he would doze off to sleep, silently offering prayers of gratitude while at the same time begging with my Heavenly Father to never have to put him, or myself, through this again.  Eventually I surrendered what I could not control, and after seven days in that chair, I returned to my own room.  And learned to let go.    


I sat for the first time with my second child in this chair when she was only two days old. 

I was on the endorphine high after just delivering, smelling in her sweet baby smell, admiring her perfect little lips.  I was convinced that this time would be different, and when her cries of colic began at a couple of weeks old, it was in this chair that I sat and sobbed again. The trauma from my experiences with my first child was consuming me, the fear that I did not have the strength to do this again never leaving me.  As I sat in this chair, I prayed again and allowed determination to take over.  Finding the deep-down resolution that I could do this, somehow, some way, and come out on the other side of it.  It was sitting here that I learned to love without fear, and endure.

And I did.  We did, this little girl and I.  

For the second time in my life, we rocked, she cried, I sang.  The chair survived the weight of our bodies and the returning experience of being constantly used.  And as she grew, the burden lifted.  The sweetness of the experience was only tasted after the bitterness.  I watched her become a beautiful and curious little girl, playing in her room around this same chair for hours.


As we once again pulled this chair out of storage, I stared down at my big belly, soon to become a mother for the third time.  I wondered anxiously how often this chair would need to be used, how frequently I would sleep upright in it, as I had so many times for so many nights.  This pregnancy was unexpected and unplanned, and I had mixed emotions of gratitude, love, guilt and concern in my heart during the entire 9 months.  I hoped the chair would hold up one more time.

But as this new baby girl and I have rocked in my now 7 year old chair, it has been different.  It has not been because it was the only thing that would bring comfort, to sing through pain and tears. Instead, I rocked with her because I wanted to hold onto this moment for as long as I possibly could.  This baby who has brought peace and allowed me to be the mother I had always pictured I was. It was sitting in this chair that I learned how to heal.  


Last week, I was rocking this now 9-month old daughter, my cheek resting against the back of her soft little head, and I sang.  The words of the song now were engrained into my memory, so much more meaningful than they had been the first time I sang them:  

Lay down your weary tune, lay down
Lay down the song you strum
And rest yourself ’neath the strength of strings
No voice can hope to hum

Just as I finished the end of the first verse, I heard a POP!  I jumped up, startling the baby as the chair gave way and broke.  Though I knew the time was coming...the chair had been struggling for a long time, I was still sad to see it go.  So many memories I had in this chair, some of them painful, some of them joyful, but always teaching.  About love, fear, prayer, mercy, surrendering, hope, grace, gratitude and peace.  

In a strange way, I felt that this chair symbolized moments I had felt as a mother.  I myself had felt worn and broken many times, wanting to give way beneath the weight of all that I had gone through.  

It is now Mother's Day, 2012 and this chair that has been with me through so much now pathetically sits in our garage, waiting to be taken to the dumpster.  I can't help but feel a little sad, like an old friend is gone.  

But as I've thought back I've realized just how much I have grown, as I have watched these little people grow.  Day in and day out, I have been there and have never given up.  That is what motherhood is for me.  Giving of myself until my back hurts, while filling my heart until it is so full of an abounding love that it feels like it could burst at any moment.  It's something that is indescribably fulfilling, though it is a constant ache that is both good and hard.  

I would not trade these moments in that chair, no matter how difficult they have been at times, for all of the riches in the world.

I love, and am so grateful, that I am a mother.    


Rachel Chick said...

That was so beautiful, Lynsey. Oh, how I love you, my friend. I am forever grateful that the Lord sent you into my life. I am forever grateful for all that you teach me. Thank you.

Cuddlydoll said...

That was beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

MeggyT said...

Thank you Lynsey. :)

Fawn said...

You are such a beautiful writer Lynsey. I just loved this post :)

SBB said...

Beautiful post, Lynsey. We have that same chair! Ours is much worse for wear--well, the fabric anyway--I guess it's not bent in half.

Nana said...

That was beautiful! Thank you for teaching me about the little things that make our life complete.

ohmylanta said...

Great Mother's Day Message!

Isn't it amazing how hard it can be to get rid of something that symbolizes so much of our life as mothers? Even when it has served it's purpose and is ready to retire!

What is that saying....quoted by the Prophet.....(couldn't tell you which one, it is too late for my brain to think that clearly)

But I think it is something like this:

Use it up, wear it out, fix it up or do without.

Really, we wear things out in seasons. Kind of like bath towels. They are wonderful for a while, but don't make it much past ten years. I am in the "towels in the second round" season. Replaced them all a few years ago. It's great. Those SAGE green wedding gift towels got me through all those birthing years. Now I am on to Ivory colored, bleachable jcpenny towels. What will be next for me in ten years? Pottery Barn towels that actually look nice hanging in the bathroom?

I guess what I am saying is that you are all set for a lazy boy recliner now! So really, it's congratulations on moving on to the next season!

However, I bet you will be glad that you documented the beautiful life of your young glider!

(sorry, it is too late for my brain to form any fluid thoughts) Thanks for the posts. Always so meaningful!

Lauren Horsley said...

Oh Lynnie Lou this totally made me cry. I have loved that chair too - seeing my strong, beautiful sister care tirelessly for her sweet babes there, watching Ben read "Hungry Caterpillar" in that chair with Leah on one knee and Gabby on the other, cuddling my sweet sweet nieces and nephews there on the few lucky days I've gotten to spend with them...

Ack! Let's go buy you a new chair!