The Rocking Chair

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While pregnant with my second child, I wanted a rocking chair to rock my baby. I searched yard sales to find one. I could not afford to purchase a rocking chair new. Finally I my searching was rewarded with locating a bentwood rocking chair with maroon covered back and seat. There were scratches on the woodwork, and the covering was not plush as when new. But it was sturdy, able to perform the purpose it was created for. And I could afford the price. I took my treasure home.

I placed the rocking chair in the main part of the living room, center of all the family activity. I rocked my baby even before we met each others eyes. In the rocking chair I rocked my second child, third and fourth.

The rocking chair became the place where I read books to the small children while nursing the fourth child. The rocking chair would support the weight of all five of us, as children hang on mom and the chair when I was reading. Them saying, “I need to see the pictures.”

As the children grew, we could not all be supported by the rocking chair. But mom and a child could. The rocking chair was moved to the quiet part of the main living room. There each day, mom and child, would have a quiet time of being held and loved.

Years move on and the child and mom time becomes the catch up on the day time. After school, each child took a turn telling mom about their day. The new kid at school, how they got a perfect score on a test, or sometimes the test score was not so good. We would rock and talk.

Children grow and become teenagers. The talks in the rocking chair became less often. The conversations shifted to friendships that struggled or a heart felt interest, and dreams of after graduation.

Time does not sit still like the rocking chair does in a corner collecting dust. The children have become young adults with jobs and first loves. Not much time to sit with mom and talk about their day.

I do not know what happened with the rocking chair after the children left home. I know it was a little wobbly and covered with scratches. The padded seat had been recovered once with a patterned material.

I did not think the children thought much about the rocking chair and time spent with mom until I received a phone call one day from my second son. He and his wife made a decision to get divorced and he was hurting inside. “Mom I wish I could just sit on your lap in the chair the way we used to when things were not going well. I wish I was with you in the rocking chair.”

Sometimes it is the plain and small things that make such a difference in the lives of children.

amtolle

Happily Ever After

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We all dream of living a “Happily Ever After” life with someone we love. We observe couples who always seem to be comfortable and happy together. Often a thoughts comes to our minds – they are only acting in front of others, behind closed doors I bet it is different.

I believe in “Happily Ever After”. That does not mean my husband and I agree on everything all the time. Or we never have negative feelings about the other. We do not agree all the time and sometimes we get frustrated or upset with the other. But we placed rules on our relationship at the very beginning.

We had both been in in unhappy marriages, both gotten divorced, and both knew we did not want to live in the type of relationships we had before.

First Rule – do not yell or raise your voice in anger. Nobody likes to be yelled at. I had spent 15 years being yelled at by my previous husband, and I yelled back. Kids do not like parents yelling at each other. Likewise, he had experienced the same thing, just not in front of his children. Talk to me, do not yell at me.

Second Rule – We have to agree before making big purchases. Money is the number one reason couples fight and for divorces. We decided to discuss purchases great and small. We usually shop together, since I am not fond of crowds. But at gift giving, we agree on maximum amount to be spent to keep our budget balanced. I balance the money accounts and track all expenses.

Third Rule – We have to communicate. We talk everyday, about everything. If he does something I do not like, actually it is usually something he does not do that bothers me. We have a focused discussion, I tell how I feel about the subject, we come up with a solution or compromise. I have had to change some behaviors and he has had to change. Then as you get older you both change and have to discuss those changes as well.

In our relationship, the house and place are mine to do with as I want. If I want to paint a wall red, I can. I decorate, plant bushes and a garden. I care for the sheep and critters we have. The house is my place to do pretty much what I want.

One day, my husband comes home from work and finds the neighbor’s tractor in our front yard, an enormous pile of dirt in the yard and a large pile of chunks of cement, and a huge, deep “moat” in front of the house, and unable to get to the front door.

My husband enters the home using the back door and askes, “Honey how was your day?”

My response ” I am tired of skunks!” We had a serious skunk problem.

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Then he asked, “why the tractor and dirt was in the front yard?

“Because the skunks walk up the sliding sidewalk to get under the floor of the house. We can not sleep in our bedroom again, because it stinks. I removed the sidewalk, now they can not get under the floor of the house. In a week I can sleep in my bed.” He laughed and said “ok.”

When he said ok, I realized I probably should have discussed this plan of action with him before I had the moat in the front yard. But, I am married to an awesome man, he was not angry, upset, frustrated. I was at the skunks. He just laughed and went on. The skunks were a problem, and I came up with a solution.

Communication is also just asking about the other’s day, expressing ideas, discussing a movie or book. Just everyday talk to says “You are important to me and I value you”.

Rule Four – Forgive and Learn. We learn from our mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. My husband and I have made a decision together, and it was a mistake. The reminding of mistakes does not help a relationship grow. I call it dragging around the garbage. If you have discussed the problem, learned from it and come up with a plan or solution, and forgave, then leave it in the dump.

I learned from the skunk story, I should discuss large actions with my husband before I start them.

I am sure there are other principles and rules a person could say leads to a happy and healthy relationship with someone. But these are the main ones for us.

After 12 years of marriage, this summer we had our first fight. Not much. I got angry, he got angry, we both yelled at the other. We did not let it stay and simmer long. We both calmed down, important to calm down before continuing. Then we discussed why I got angry, then why he was angry. We learned what each one did wrong and right, we forgave and moved forward.

I am married to my best friend, my biggest supporter, my rock as he keeps me from doing too many projects at once, and the love of my life.

amtolle