Precious Moment Rocking Chair: A Story of Enduring Love (Eunice Cupples)
Rocking Chair Figurine
This is a true story told to me by my good friend, Eunice Cupples. I'm narrating the story in the first person.
My eyes searched the thrift store. Surely, there has to be a rocking chair somewhere. I’m not going home without one. The thought made me excited and the baby seemed to agree—a little kick of affirmation. The perfect scenario played in my mind—me and my baby rocking in the rocking chair, lullaby on my lips and the smell of her freshly washed hair.
I saw it—a little battered thing, sitting in the shadow of some huge Victorian vases, a sorry relic of prime time past.
“How much do you want for that?” I called out to the owner, directing his eyes to the chair.
“Ohh, I would say fifty dollars,” he hollered back, not even bothering to take a second look.
“How about thirty-five? That’s all I’ve in my purse,” I gave Ted a wink.
He seemed a little disconcerted but took a cursory look at my obvious bump and said, “Alright, you got yourself a bargain.”
Someone's discard....my treasure!
Ted hauled the rocking chair and I followed, the proud owner with anticipation welling.
Once home, Ted situated the rocking chair in the baby’s room, pink and happy motifs climbing the walls down to the floor.
I couldn’t wait to try it out. Sitting in the rocking chair, I make-believe that I’m lulling my little one to sleep and she’s just the perfect baby, enjoying the moment. I’m having my practice run and loving every minute of it. The rocking chair is going to make my baby happy.
Chelcea finally came—7 pounds, 7 ounces, every bit the girl I wanted. Wide-eyed, lashes long enough to rival Barbie’s and dainty fingers and toes to match.
However, the picture perfect moment of me and my baby in a rocking chair didn’t’ turn out as expected. That were bouts of crying, leaky accidents and painful engorged breasts and moments of figuring what ailed my child. The first few days of adjustment were frantic with excitement, anxiety and sometimes, sheer fatigue.
We finally found a routine, one I anticipated and now, a reality. Nursing Chelcea in the rocking chair became my favorite thing to do. Her trusting brown eyes looking into mine, as she drank noisily melted my heart. The rocking chair creaked under our weight, its legs rocking in an arc, back and forth, a rhythm swinging in tune with my lullaby. A precious moment, a snapshot to be etched in my mind forever.
Nights of rocking must have taken its toll. The spindles came apart, and I found myself and Chelcea unceremoniously dumped on the floor. The loud thud and sharp shrieks sent Ted to our door. With the nervousness of a new dad, who was still figuring how to put himself into this special mother and child bonding equation, he surveyed the damage with some measure of importance. Finally, needed in some way, he was eager to win not just one heart, but two.
With clumsy hands and glue redeemed from the bowel of the garage, he fussed over the job until the chair took shape again. He managed to plaster it back. A feat considering he’s not the typical DIY guy. Even hanging shower curtain was a challenge.
Suffice to say the rickety chair survived three kids, one after another. Globs of glue traipsed across the back, from spindles to the arms. The constant rocking chaffed the edges and the arms hold the indentations of my resting arms. Busted, jaded, worn and totally used but still good to go.
Kaplunk! Broken and in need of superglue....
Sitting in the driveway, my faithful rocking chair was waiting to be put into our tiny U-haul truck. Ted had told me to leave the chair behind, after all, we were done with having little ones. But no, I had told him in no uncertain terms—the chair was coming. It’s a piece of my life, my own keepsake of the joy of motherhood.
I looked on, as Ted, with the ingenuity of a jigsaw master, attempted to put the items of our whole castle into the truck. He wedged, juxtaposed, maneuvered, cajoled to maximize space to accommodate every single item on the driveway. But tried as hard as he could, the rocking chair just won’t fit.
He could unpack everything and try to rearrange but time was running out and so, he turned to me and said, “Sorry, hon, we just have to leave the chair behind.”
Glumly I got into the front seat, my three daughters in the back as Ted slid out of the driveway with the wobbling truck in tow. My eyes became a veil of mist as the rocking chair grew smaller and smaller, looking more and more forlorn in the fading driveway. I wanted to bawl but kept a straight face, lips clamped, just in case, something hurtful came out. I’m too old for temper tantrums. I glanced at Ted, to see if he felt anything about the little memento of my motherhood but he kept his eyes on the road. Silence permeated, even the kids were quiet.
Ted bought a little six by six inches cube of a box for our first anniversary in San Diego.
“Hey, I hunted all over the town for this,” he said quietly, eyes betraying his excitement.
I took the box, shook it to listen for any clues as to what would be inside this little unassuming box, “Huhh…..let me guess…..a diamond ring the size of the rock?”
He smiled. “Go on, open it. It’s more valuable than a diamond ring.”
What could be more valuable than a diamond ring?—a year’s rain checks of no dishes and laundry to do? Now, I really needed that, with three growing daughters and a demanding teacher’s job. I would have loved that.
As I peeled off the wrap, I uncovered a little figurine of a mother rocking a baby ……I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I threw my arms around Ted, “You remembered.”
“Of course, how could I forget? The mother of my kids and the love of my life. I felt terrible leaving the rocking chair behind. The least I could do was to replace it with this---not the real thing, but pretty close, don’t you think?”
I loved him then, more than I realized. He knew the intricacies of my heart. Unspoken, he saw and acted. He may not always vocalize his emotions but who needs vocalizing when actions speak louder than words?
I put the figurine on the mantel, not knowing it would hold more significance than my motherhood.
Ted passed away on the 9th of January, 2009 after a brief battle with a rare blood disease, Hemophagocytic disorder.
I miss him more than my heart can explain, more than this story can tell and more than anyone would ever know. I lost the love of my life, my best friend and the best father to our kids.
I miss him every single day. Knowing he’s with God soothes some and then, there is the rocking chair, a palpable proof of his love. I may not be able to hold Ted any more but I can always hold this keepsake and know that his love is for keeps, forever.
P.S. True story as told to me by my good friend, Eunice Cupples.
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