I collect rocking chairs, at least I did for a while. At one point I had 8 chairs and a small apartment, so there were even rocking chairs in the kitchen. I’ve loved sitting in rocking chairs for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I loved sitting in the rocker that my mom gave to my dad when my oldest brother was born. I have that chair now, upstairs in the bedroom that my granddaughters shared when they lived with us.
When the kids arrived it was important to establish a routine; I knew that even if I didn’t have any kids of my own. Between my formal education and the years of caring for kids, I KNOW how important routine is for children’s growth and development; and their own feeling of safety for that matter. But let’s call it what it really is: a self-preservation strategy for parents! Without some semblance of order, at dinner and bedtime in particular, all hell can break loose.
After dinner with the then 4 year-old, the routine was simple. She had to clear her plate from the table, get her pj’s on, brush her teeth, and meet me back at the table for two books from the pile we’d pick out at the library ever two weeks. Then we’d walk up the stairs and she’d hop onto her bed. Usually, there was a song or two to sing before she would close her eyes and go to sleep. Initially though, she needed a bit more help.
I was still recovering from thyroid cancer surgery and my voice was nowhere near its full strength yet and singing, well that was out of the question. But, I could hum a tune. On those nights that Coco had more difficulty falling asleep she crawl onto my lap as I sat in the rocker next to her bed. She’d put her head on my shoulder, her thumb in her mouth, and we’d rock. I would hum any song I could think of but most often we landed on a John Denver tune (Sunshine on My Shoulders). After about five minutes of the back and forth swaying and soft creak of the runners, her body would get heavy, eyes would close, and she’d say, “ready, now.”
There were those nights too, that I’d want her to fall asleep more quickly than she did so I would scoop her up from behind and sit in the rocker even before she got on her bed. One night I know she was SO not ready to sleep. There we were though, back and forth, back and forth, and the rhythmic creaking getting me drowsy when Coco said: “Grandma, stop rocking, you’re making my eyes close.” And, with a smile on my face, I picked her up, placed her on the bed, kissed her head and said, “Goodnight, lovey.”
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