Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)
TITLE: The Rocking Chair Knows
By Beth Muehlhausen
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This creaky old rocking chair knows. It remembers.
Years ago it rocked me for hours to soothe my colic. Now it rocks my grandchildren.
My lips linger on the soft, silky spot between Josie’s sleeping eyes. Warm infant smells - unique to those who know babies intimately - hypnotize me with addictive aromatherapy. Sparkles of moonlight form a long trail on the lake outside, offering to lead us toward the mysteries of Never-Never Land.
We remain frozen in the rocking chair: rick-rick, rick-rock. I hold her close to my breast as if she were my own – as if I have suddenly traveled back in time and am once again holding her mother.
As I gaze at her peaceful face, Josie’s pacifier suddenly shudders, and then slips from her rosebud mouth. She breathes a miniature sigh, one so soft it speaks only of deep contentment. A tiny fist falls to one side at the end of a petite arm that may, many years hence, mimic my own. Perhaps she will be so blessed to also hold a sleeping granddaughter close to her heart.
Rick-rick, rick-rock … rick-rick, rick-rock.
Who are you, little one? What will be your dreams, your unique gifts?
Tomorrow you will leave with your parents and return home - thousands of miles away. My silent tears flow unbidden and unchecked as if tapping an inner artesian well. They fall like silent raindrops on her soft knit blanket that quickly absorbs them like a sponge.
“You’ve got it made, young lady.” I whisper the truth as my quivery lips brush her forehead.
Josie’s feet stir and she squirms as if to stretch. I reposition her on my lap and loosen my hold.
“We’re already in Never-Never Land, sweetie … that place where pixie dust … a constant shower of God’s grace and love … provides all you need.”
A breeze blows a tuft of her fluffy hair, and I fold the blanket over her head.
“Lord, bless this child … watch over her throughout her life.”
The man in the moon smiles from outside the sliding glass door.
A metallic laptop computer now warms my lap as I rock back and forth. Josie is gone. Our special moment has vanished. Only the memory remains.
She will always be flesh of my own flesh despite the distance separating us. I will long to hold her close – to hear her sigh as she slumbers amidst dreams known only to those who are so newly sent from the Father. And yet I will also choose to release her to Him.
What was I like at Josie’s age, Lord?
Who held me; who cried over me?
What prayer was said on my behalf?
There is no way to know. That information has passed away with those who had answers.
… unless the rocking chair knows!
I once was just as innocent and malleable as Josie; as loved by God; as gifted. The nannies that held me during my mother’s hospitalization did their best to care for me. Perhaps my Granny said a prayer in German, or someone at church prayed for me when I was baptized.
Old man in the moon, just look at you out there … you’re still smiling at me, aren’t you? Perhaps Josie and I share more than what is humanly possible to understand …
The rocking chair knows.
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