Thirty years ago, for my sons first birthday, my husband made him a wooden rocking horse. We copied the pattern from a rocking horse his cousin had purchased for their children. Since money was tight and my husband was a weekend woodworker, we decided he could make it for a fraction of the cost of buying one.
He was working away, all was going as planned, the horse was almost done until… my husband sliced his hand open with a chisel. Eighty dollars (emergency room costs, thirty years ago) and eight stiches later, the resulting rocking horse ended up costing much more than what we would have originally spent to purchase it. Big sigh! However, my young son did get hours of enjoyment from the horse and we got a great story. We decided we could pass down the tale, hopefully along with the rocking horse.
Fast forward to today. A few months back I remembered the rocking horse, which has lived in the attic for many years. I pulled it out of its hiding place (actually, I made my son go and haul it down) dusted it off and looked it over. It was dirty and stained because I had never refinished it properly. It was put into use right away and back then, unknowingly, I left it natural, with no protection. However, it did survive, seemed very sturdy and the chips and cracks just add character.
I took it outside and gave it a good sanding and a couple coats of paint. Once I was satisfied (and tired of painting), I set it in the dining room and waited for my two year old granddaughter to visit. I figured the worst case scenario would be that I could use it as decoration in my living room.
To my delight she loved the rocking horse. She regularly rocks on it, next to a giant, leafy avocado tree that occasionally brushes against her hair. She rocks and she sings. One day, when she is an adult, I think she will pull up happy memories of riding her pony though the leafy, green forest. She will remember it warmly and with a smile. Only we will know that it was really just a thirty year old, chipped and scared, blue wooden rocking horse that she rode at grandma’s house.