Ten years ago, I had a six-month-old baby girl. I was just emerging from that newborn fog of dark days and very long nights. I was just beginning to recognize the world outside my home again. I was on the verge of “normal life.”
And then I went to a birthday party.
Something I ingested at that party turned my stomach in an oddly familiar way. A few days later, I noticed that my neighbors dogs smelled awful and I could smell them all the way from my house. Several days after that, I started actively looking for raisins. To eat. This is something I had never done. Ever.
It turns out, old wives tales about not being able to get pregnant while breastfeeding are nothing but lies.
So it was that I acquired “The Chair.”
My husband, being the thoughtful, kind, generous man that he is, realized this was a time for a time for big gestures. He did something unprecedented in our lives up to that point. He bought me a brand new giant, billowing, reclining chair. It was perfect. It had the right proportion of soft to sturdy. It was just the right height when I was sitting in it. When it was reclined my feet came over the edge at the most comfortable place.
My six-month-old baby girl could sit with me in the chair even though my lap disappeared more everyday. Later, I could read to her while she sat beside me and I nursed her baby sister. Then I could read to the two of them while I nursed the next baby sister, and then their baby brother. The chair seemed to magically expand to accommodate the children. I have spent countless hours reading, what I imagine to be, thousands of picture books to my four children in that chair over the last ten years. I treasure those times of close, cuddled up, wiggly storytimes.
The Chair has been my refuge. It has held me up when I was too morning sick to move. It has laid me back when I just could not keep my eyes open one more minute. It has steadied me when I pinched a nerve in my neck during pregnancy number four. It has rocked me through heartaches I thought would break me.
Most notably, it has been my constant companion through an incalculable number of hours reading and hundreds of books. My love of reading was solidified in that chair. I have stayed awake nights in that chair, unable to put a book down. I have fallen asleep reading the same sentence fifty-six times in that chair. I have found bookmarks, pens for taking notes, post-its, small notebooks, small books themselves in the cracks and crevices of that chair. I have spent ten years of my life reading, almost exclusively, in that chair.
And now my chair is gone.
It is broken, damaged, rejected, and literally kicked to the curb.
Now when I read to my kids they are all sprawled out across an entire couch. Yes, it is true, now they can all sit without touching each other. Yes, it is true, now they can all see the pictures and pages without having someone’s hair in their face. But it’s not the same.
Now I have to read in a new spot. Yes, it is true that it is also very soft yet sturdy. Yes, it is true that it also reclines. Yes, it is true that I have even more options of where to sit and read now. But it is not the same.
My husband laughs and tells me my loyalty to inanimate objects is “cute.”
Is it still “cute” to go read in My Chair, on the curb, one last time?