Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Isn't it funny how we never seem to take pictures of the ordinary things around us? I thought for sure I had a more recent picture of our rocking chair but this was the first one I could find and that's Ian there... at 20 months old, which I guess is fitting since he's the little culprit who broke it. This afternoon he climbed up onto the back and it fell, backwards, hitting a few things on the way down. Several joints have come apart and one of the panels in the back broke free at the top splintering into several pieces. When I came in and saw it laying there on it's back, all cockeyed, I knew it couldn't be good.

You know that moment when you realize that something has just happened and by the sound of it, it can't be very good? And then you hear the crying and you realize that someone was hurt at the same time? And then there's that nanosecond when you've just happened upon the scene and determined that a) no one is dead or bleeding out and, b) your beloved chair is broken... and you have to react. It's this nanosecond, that moment in time that feels like an eternity, where your synapses are firing messages to your body and all you hear is the adrenaline rushing through your brain. It's that moment that determines the type of parent you are.

Do you instantly rush to your child's aid no matter what disarray the room is in or what happens to be lying in pieces at their feet? Or are you the one that calmly picks him up, knowing he's physically fine but wanting to comfort him anyway? Or the one that knows he's fine and you rush to the chair, or vase, or whatever precious item has been sacrificed to the annals of childhood and send him to his room even though he's still crying over the shock of being flung in the air? I'm beginning to see that it is me... that one... the latter... the one who gets upset at the sight of blood, not because it's blood, but because it means they must have been doing something crazy in order to get hurt in the first place.

When I knew he was more shocked then hurt, I rushed to the chair's aid first. My poor antique rocker. It was given to us the first year we were here by our neighbor. She didn't have any room for it anymore. Her parents gave it to her as a sweet 16th birthday gift, some 35+ years ago.

For now it's tucked away upstairs in a spare bedroom. I'm hoping we can find someone who specializes in repairing old wood furniture by hand. It's too beautiful to not at least try.

Ian is fine... he's over the drama and the only thing he has to show for it is a red scratch on his elbow. I'm beginning to see it though... the future with my rough and tumble boys and as beautiful it may be, I think I'll keep the antiques away for awhile.


I know some people were having problems commenting recently. My husband thinks he fixed it so give it a try and let me know if you have any problems.



Tasha Lehman said...

I know the exact feeling that you are talking about when you hear the crash and the scream! And even through three boys, my heart still sinks. I am getting better at my reactions though...with all boys you begin to let go of precious items easily!!! I still have things put away...one day my breakables will find their way back into our home, for now, I'm treasuring them from afar, and not worrying about what may get broken!!

Adam and Raechell said...

When our girls were very little, my Dad's first advice to me...he said, "Take it or leave it, but if I were you I would pick my battles."

"Do you want to be following them around all the time or just let them live? It's their home too. Put everything out of their reach and up high. Put all the things you love away. Don't have any coffee tables for them to fall into. Make it easy on yourself and them."

I listened. He was right. Now our girls are 10 and almost 13, we are just starting to get things that I have waited years to have and it isn't easy...even at this age.

I second Tasha's thought and your new found wisdom Andrea....put the precious things away for a season, they will return eventually.

Sorry for the accident. Glad Ian is ok. ;)

Jeremy Conn said...

As a philosophy, I don't believe in "put the precious things away for a season". (Surprise, surprise, Jeremy disagrees :)

I feel like things that make you happy should be a part of your life, not put away in some closet. How can you enjoy something that is in a box? If I like something then I want to share it with my boys, and teach them how to treat things the right way.

I have seen the boys learn how to leave things alone that we ask them to, and it has made them more in-control kids when we are at other people's houses. I don't worry about them being a bull-in-a-china-shop because they have learned to respect things at home. If everything is removed, how do they learn that lesson?

For instance, we have all our A/V equipment down low where even Sawyer can mess with it, but both boys have learned to respect them and leave them alone.

That being said, kids learn through mistakes - so that guarantees that things will get broken. However, I would rather have that than my boys never learning how to appreciate things and show restraint.

My 2 cents... peace out.

tonia said...

I'm more in agreement with Jeremy...

perhaps our philosophy should be to not hold so tightly to "precious things" ourselves - and let the kids learn to respect and take care of those things by living with them. (Learning comes with a lot of mistakes, of course, which is why we can't hold so tightly. *smile*)

I've lost plenty of things that seemed precious to me at the time - things I can scarcely remember now - but we've never lived sterile lives just to protect "things" and the kids learn to respect and care for what is important.

~I know that rocker is very special, but its loss (if it can't be repaired) can be a reminder that things are just temporal - given to us for a season to enjoy and gone tomorrow. There's a place for contentment and gratitude in letting go of "stuff." I'm preaching that to myself, too, sis.


I'm mourning the rocker with you, and proud of you for not living sterile. :)

Adam and Raechell said...
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Adam and Raechell said...
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Jeremy Conn said...

I think we all would agree that removing items that could be dangerous is different than getting rid of things that we like so that they don't get ruined. I was bummed out to have to put my knife-rimmed-glass-shard-razor-blade vase from the living room, but I think it was for the best. :)

I know for me I determined that I was not going to move my A/V equipment or my favorite leather chair from the living room because I wanted to enjoy them, and also that the boys needed to learn to treat things with respect. Is the leather chair scuffed up? Yes. Do the A/V equipment get Sawyer's finger prints (and the occasional food particle) on them? Yes. But, I have seen our boys be much more behaved and gentle with items like that then other children that I have seen.

I know my personality has changed quite a bit since having kids, and I care much less about "my things" and their value, and feel much more that I want the boys to share in the things I love. I let Sawyer strum my guitar with his grubby little hands, and let Ian mess with my iPhone all he wants - it really comes down to that core philosophy shift - it's just stuff. I would even say seeing them engage with things that are valuable to me has given me an even deeper enjoyment of those things, scratches and dents included.

** I love this conversation, and appreciate all the opinions and realize that my thoughts are my own, and that we can feel different and that is cool. **

Andrea said...

Thanks for all the good conversation this morning! I am definitely mourning my chair *sniff* *sniff*. But maybe I can appreciate that it was loved as it was for a good little time (and hopefully will be again soon!).

Some things I will definitely keep out of reach until they are older (or out of the house! LOL) and others I may just try and let go of since I want them to enjoy them too.

Next time though I will aim for comforting the boy first and not the chair. :-)

Tasha Lehman said...

I definitely agree with you Jeremy, that we need to teach our kids how to respect the things around them. Matt lets the boys play with his iPhone too...IF they are sitting down! As with all things in parenting, you have to find balance! Isn't it a fun adventure?!

Crista said...

The rocker reminds me of a chair of ours that I had thought was surely a-goner about 4 years ago...one in a set of 6 that matches our antique dining room set...imported from England. I was devastated...sorry, it's true:). The leg of one chair snapped in half after I tumbled to avoid tripping over my little cousin. Argh!

It WAS resurrected, and flawlessly, by an antique restoration company here in Dallas. It DID cost me a tidy sum (around $150), but it was flawless and even I would REALLY have to try to find which chair it was now.

Moral: Keep the kids:), and just find a really high-end antique store and ask who they recommend for restorative work. I'm sure it's repairable if mine was. The leg of our chair was literally snapped in half. Boohoo...