Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Letting Go

Shortly after my very dear Nana died two and a half years ago, I indicated to my mother that if no one had their eyes set on her wing chair, I would love to have it.

I know what you are thinking. A rose floral wingchair. Why on earth would I want such a thing? It's about as old lady as you can get.

But, I really did want it.

First of all, I have grown up in an extended family of wingchairs. Or, rather, an extended family who has (and values) wingchairs. For me, they are a symbol of family and of comfort-- even though I would never have thought a wing chair was my style.

But, more importantly, my nana's wing chair symbolized her to me. At least in recent years, when she wasn't buzzing about, it's where she was. And, when she was sitting in that chair - whether reading, catching a nap, or talking with a visitor, she always looked as comfortable as can be.

I remember in the last few days of her life, her sitting in that chair, predicting that my baby was going to be born on her mother's birthday--she just knew it. It was funny, she was so connected to this pregnancy - maybe because I saw her so much during it. But, it definitely struck me. She was so interested in it - offering thoughts and predictions. Three months after my Nana died, my baby was born on HER birthday.

So, I got the chair. And, much to my husband's shagrin, I insisted that we put it in the antique bay window in our dining room. Odd, I know. But, it's this wonderful sun-filled nook where I knew I could sit and nurse one baby while watching the other frolick outside. That was my vision. After I re-upholstered it, of course. I can't stand rose floral patterns.

Two years later, Nana Chair (yup, that's what we call it) has become a very significant piece of our life. I have nursed a zillion times in that chair. We have all read many a book there. We have all snoozed there. We have all snuggled there. We all seek out THAT chair.

All along I have still intended to reupholster it. A zillion fabric swatches have come home and been rejected. I even purchased 7 yards of fabric that I thought was perfect only to cry when it arrived. Finally, I found a fabric that most of us liked -- and, to me, would bring this wing chair to modern life with a little spunk - just like Nana.

The day the chair was hauled away, my eldest would hardly speak to me. My two year old cried, "Nana chair no go." And for the weeks to follow that space seemed so empty. While I was so certain that I wanted to change that chair, I couldn't help but wonder each day as I stared at the empty space whether everyone's anguish about reupholstering it meant something. I wondered if I had, in fact, taken the magic out of the chair.

Stay tuned.

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