Marlene Hauser

a white rocking chair

Do you have a Rocking Chair?

Hi Everyone

Literally, no one has ever asked me why I have a rocker in my bedroom, but they have done doubletakes, begging the question – Why? Why do you have a large, white rocking chair in your bedroom?

Clearly, I have no small children around – no one to rock, especially with my son just shy of twenty-one, so it’s a good question that most guests (or folks that work for me) are too polite to ask. They shrug it off as if to say ‘a rocker, why not?’ One person did hint that removing it would allow for more space, and for one fleeting moment – just a split second – I did think, ‘okay, eBay,’ before quickly coming to my senses: ‘No, not the white chair.’ Thankfully, it stayed.

So yes, I have a vintage white (large, sturdy, cumbersome) rocking chair in my boudoir, and most probably always will, because it was in that chair that I grew to know my son, and perhaps in some ways he grew to know me. Countless hours were spent listening to music, especially at nightfall, and it was the go-to place when hurt feelings or fingers needed care. It is the spot where he and I learned that love and comfort went hand in hand; the site where even fevers calmed down.

It is also the spot where eyes learned to rove, moving across the page, left to right, as we traced brightly drawn snails slithering over glittery trails, page after page, until the close of the book. It’s the site, where he learned to flip pages on his own and to read those funny hieroglyphics out loud that in time turned into imaginary pictures and sounds. There he came to hold his own book, turn his own pages, and to read on his own. To be fair, we often resorted to the chair even when he grew a bit older, when life was just a bit too difficult, a stretch too far.

Who would have guessed the importance of that chair? Not me. I took it for granted – one more thing on a long list of what a mother was meant to do, but its worth was driven home one day after visiting a friend. While not a grandiose home, and smaller than ours, its looming ancestral portraits, dark, claw-footed tables and partially drawn drapes gave it a different air, perhaps more affluent. After running from room to room, my young son and his school chum landed in the TV room, playing FIFA on Xbox, while my friend and I shared a cup of tea in her well-lit kitchen. When it was time to leave, my son stopped as he put on his coat and carefully scrutinised the flat, as if he were trying to solve a problem, trying to figure something out. Then just as quickly, he buttoned his coat, put on his cap, wrapped his scarf, and we were out the door, merrily on our way.

That night, long after bath, reading, prayers and bed, my son said something as if aiming to square the facts. “Mummy, do you know in that entire flat there was not one white rocking chair.” I paused, looked at him, and smiled before switching off the light. “Not one,” he said again, before turning to sleep.

While I am sure my friend and her son have their own ways of doing things, as my son and I do, I understood in that instant the value of that chair and the time spent there. Over the years, and still, when my son needs a chat, he often comes into my room, and flops into that rocker. Sometimes he has something important to say, and other times not. He just lounges. Usually, just as quickly, he is up and off, story shared, gossip discussed, anger vented.

For me, my white rocker stands as a symbol, a moment in time when I knew that my son, even at a tender young age (perhaps as we all do), valued love, all that transpired in that chair—the comforting, the listening, the singing, the reading, the being read to, and of course, the very tall tales. I often sit in that chair now (not just to tie my trainers), but to recall the vital significance of succour now as in the past, or just to pause, to consider a decision to be made, or a right direction to take.

So, this August, I offer you the same, a moment to rock, to pause, to find your own white rocking chair, and to take in what the scientists might call ‘a small hit of endorphins” because perhaps in the end it really is true: love is all.



Photo by servet yigit | iStock