Rocking Ghosts

All of the women in my family have had rocking chairs.

My grandmother, whom always smelled like something cooking–apple pies and casseroles, perfect hash browns that no one in our generation has yet to reproduce–had one. It was the central point of her home and her kitchen. People came from all over town to visit nearly every night and the kitchen is where everyone would be.

My grandmother would pull out a card table, have sandwiches magically ready and in the fridge (just in encase) and settle herself in her rocking chair throne. She was always in it.

At least, for as long as she could be.

My mother too, inherited this love of the rocking chair. Though she did not put in the kitchen as our lives revolved quietly around in the living room. When people came, my mother would sit in her rocking chair facing the room, an outline of her mother and my grandmother. At night, when little girls were trapped in nightmares, she’d pick me up and gather me in her laps in this rocking chair, humming or singing until the tears passed.

My grandmother is now in a chair with wheels. My mother has put her rocking chair in the basement, choosing the comfort of a recliner and I? I who should be keeping these traditions, as mundane as they may seem from the outside, have not.

They are the little everyday things which mark our lives. I have no rocking chair and try not to settle into my computer chair each evening without too much guilt.