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Friday, December 10, 2010

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

Tick-tock, tick-tock, so goes the Grandmother Clock on the landing of our stairway. Where I usually just walk past it every morning on my way to coffee, this morning I stopped to look at it. There are great memories in that clock.

My mom and dad gave it to us as a house warming gift when we moved in our first home forty seven years ago March. It sat on the landing there too--in the same kitty-corner position it is in this place. I loved it. I was very proud of it. It was the first really nice piece of furniture we had. The living room was empty--the family room had the apartment stuff in it. It was very special.

A month later, my second son, big blue eyes and not a hair on his head, arrived. Angelic looking, he was all boy. Determined, stubborn, opinionated. Took ownership of the room he shared with his brother. He's the one for whom the clock is now named. He's the child who taught me, then just in my twenties and still a pretty green mom, a very valuable lesson about stuff.

Michael was three when he streaked around the banister and up the stairs and the clock fell face first into the newel post from his thunder. I heard the crash from the kitchen and came running to find the clock speared straight through and a little boy huddled on the stairs sobbing, his arms wrapped around his shaking body. He looked so scared. My heart broke as I wondered how I had made him that way? Without a word, I climbed over the clock, sat down beside him and took him in my arms and just held him. Then I said, "Would you look at that,the clock tried to get you, but you were too fast for it. It missed! I'm so glad you're safe. I love you more than anything else in the whole world." He relaxed.

Together we untangled the mess and leaned what was left back against the wall. We called the Clock Doctor who repaired the thing to nearly good as new and anchored it to a stud. Back in place, the Michael clock became a real heirloom. It had history I wouldn't have missed. Changed my attitude with a bang then and with every chime since reminding me repeatedly that stuff is just stuff. Kids are to cherish.


  1. Being a parent is not an easy job.. I certainly know what u are talking about.... I guess we don't realize the emphasis we put on things when we forewarn our kids .,... Or maybe u never said anything to your son and he knew deep down what that clock meant to you... Or maybe he was just disappointed in what he had done? Sometimes that's the worse feeling, isn't it? I am glad u saw the fear in him and made light of it... after all it seems he punished himself pretty good... You're a smart mommy.

  2. Thanks Chrissy, that time, yes, who knows what other times no?

    After I published this post, I had to edit. It funny. You write your post, you read it and read it over again--think that what you've written might make sense, so you publish. Then read it again (along with everybody else) and notice all sorts of corrections that could be made. I make them today. Then republished. I really do have to get over this perfectionist streak. I'm drawing and painting here--not writing.

  3. Linda, I use to re-edit my posts because after reading it I would see where I might offend someone.. and at times, I think that if we re word stuff so much, that a lot is lost- especially the feeling and emotion when we first wrote it... I look at my old journals where I wrote about my grief, and there I just let go... When I re read them, it seems like whatever was bothering me was eons or it was a different person I was reading about... Writing is cathartic...
    Actually, when I first read your post today, I didn't find anything wrong w/it, it merely sounded like a mother recanting a long ago event.. I could actually see your son's fall as well as the look on his face... Maybe its because I know that look? or maybe cuz moms all know what it feels like?

  4. Lovely post. Enjoyed that. Yes, stuff is just stuff.