A simple wooden glider at the curb for Bulk Trash Day. Its rear cushion sags and hangs tenuously by a loop re-sewed twice. The armrests have long since lost the softness of their pseudo suede and are worn and polished like a haystack rock on the Oregon coast. Years ago, the chipboard seat support bent and then failed. It was replaced with a custom-cut piece of plywood that improved support at the expense of sustained comfort.
But this tattered piece of nursey furniture is more than just a portion of the homeowners’ 500-pound annual allotment of bulk residential waste. Its function and form are associated with the most tender maternal attributes of my wife, while its presence on the curb recalls the sharp sadness of the longest and most chasmic disagreement of our marriage. This chair has supported a mother and her infant babies for hours too numerous to be quantified and in moments more precious and intimate than can be described. This chair has rocked four babies to the hymns of heaven and has held and supported a tender-hearted woman who in the darkness of newborn nights was at times crying harder and more desperately than her child. This cushioned glider has been a silent, supportive partner in cold winter midnights and a cheerful companion on bright summer mornings.
This chair has borne my wife and my four children for a decade and contains within its rhythms and textures and scents and sounds so many of the memories and moments that make a mother-child relationship so singular and precious. It has served faithfully and has more than earned its retirement. Even from a father’s vantage, it feels less like discarding old furniture and more like bidding farewell to an old friend.
October 10, 2020