There was a clock that hung on the wall of my grandparents’ house in Michigan. Next to the kitchen, above the table, the sound of its tick as familiar as a view I could trace by memory.

I’ve had the clock for years, gathering dust in a storage box. I always talked about maybe hanging it someday—except it wasn’t much to look at, with its enormous brown curlicued plastic surround. It wasn’t the sight of the clock I wanted, exactly, it was the resurrected memory of the days I spent in a place I loved so much.

This is the Christmas present JB gave me on Sunday:

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He took that clock and set its face in a gorgeous piece of wood, engraved with a subtle design that evokes the original whorls, alongside my grandparents’ name. It’s on my kitchen wall right now, ticking away.

The sound of it. Oh, I can’t even describe what this gift means to me.

Other Christmas moments, captured via cellphone camera:

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Screen shot 2011-12-26 at 6.41.25 PM

Did you have a good holiday? What are you up to this week? I feel like I should have planned better for the kids being home all week long … although I’m not sure how. Stocked up on duct tape, maybe.


64 Responses to “Heartbeat”

  1. Mariya on December 27th, 2011 10:22 am

    That was an incredibly sweet and thoughtful gift! Very adorable pictures as well :-) Happy Holidays!

  2. Melanie on December 27th, 2011 10:31 am

    Oh, Linda. The look on your face says it all.

  3. Jackie on December 27th, 2011 10:32 am

    That is such a wonderful present. It makes me teary just thinking about it. I love the thought that went into it.

  4. JudithNYC on December 27th, 2011 10:35 am

    You look absolutely gorgeous in that photo. Also, I can’t get over the fact that your men are outside in their shirtsleeves! I am jealous.

    Love all the boys’ photos with their dad but that one of them running downhill is my favorite.

    Be glad you did not stock up on the duct tape or you might be tempted to use it before the week is over a la that father on Facebook.

  5. Rachel on December 27th, 2011 11:00 am

    Your husband sounds like a treasure.

    Ah the old bow and arrow, brings me back to my boy’s 10th birthday where he was gifted his first set. That was the day I instituted the single best house rule I ever invented: No screaming unless you’ve been shot.

  6. Halyn on December 27th, 2011 11:08 am

    wow, Riley has nice form for a beginner…impressive!

    Great pics, I love the one of your three guys standing in the wet sand…and the look on your face in the clock pic! Your husband is a keeper!

  7. Nikki on December 27th, 2011 11:41 am

    Your clock is a beautiful gift!! My grandma had a “grandfather clock” and now that she’s gone it’s at my mom’s house. It often reminds me of my childhood and spending time with her. It’s such a fond memory!

    Great pics too! Do you have an iPhone? or did you use a program to edit those?

  8. Jeanette on December 27th, 2011 12:38 pm

    What a thoughtful gift! I have a old mantle clock from my grandparents house. It sits on a shelf in my closet gathering dust. It doesn’t work anymore but once in a while I go and make it chime just to bring back the memories and nostalgic feelings!

  9. D'Ann on December 27th, 2011 12:55 pm

    Oh man, that brought some tears to my eyes. What a beautiful and thoughtful gift. JB must be a pretty fantastic guy.
    My grandparents had a mantle clock that sort of became part of the “music” of their house… always in the background with my sister and cousin playing and the adults chatter. During overnight visits I would listen to its sound as I fell asleep. The clock had this great soft chime that marked the hours. The ticking of that clock and the chime is probably one of my favorite memories from my childhood. My aunt has that clock stored away in a box in her attic. Family feuds being what they are in this case, I will likely never hear it again, but your post made me remember the sound for a moment. Thank you.

  10. tracy @mamacreates on December 27th, 2011 1:21 pm

    what a lovely gift….and also what looks to be a perfectly low-key holiday with your family. good on you :)

  11. Eric's Mommy on December 27th, 2011 1:29 pm

    What an awesome gift JB gave to you.

    I got a Pot Bellied Pig for X-mas, yes a Pig :)

  12. Belle on December 27th, 2011 2:11 pm

    What an awesome gift from that very thoughtful husband of yours! I love those photos of the boys with their dad – the love just oozes!

  13. Kris on December 27th, 2011 2:36 pm

    Oh oh oh, verklempt! Does JB give husbandry lessons? Because mine could use some tips from yours.

  14. Lindsay on December 27th, 2011 2:53 pm

    What an amazing gift! And your family is just beautiful. Glad you had a great holiday!

  15. Deanna on December 27th, 2011 4:19 pm

    Awesome present! And so great photos!!

    Kids home – this morning we put 1/4 bar of ivory soap in the microwave. Cute project. Hint- 30 sec for 1/4 bar. Take it out and flip it and give it another few seconds but be ready – that soap expands in a second or two! Was fun!

  16. bouncy on December 27th, 2011 4:30 pm

    What an awesome present! Did you know about it or was it a surprise?

  17. Niki on December 27th, 2011 5:46 pm

    What a thoughtful gift from JB- your face just says it all
    I too have clock memories. My grandfather had chiming clocks all over the house but my favorite is/was the Regulator. It now hangs on the wall in my moms kitchen. My younger son is in love with it and claims to have scratched his name in the back! Get in line buddy!!

  18. MyFrogs on December 27th, 2011 6:33 pm

    I feel the same way about screen doors on springs. I call them slammy doors and I want one someday. They remind me of my great gmas house. It’s all about the slam sound. Love them!

  19. Kelley O on December 27th, 2011 7:01 pm

    One of your (beautiful) pictures is upside down. Still gorgeous though. :) I’m definitely not complaining.

  20. H on December 27th, 2011 7:20 pm

    The gift is fantastic and your expression is priceless. I’m going to pretend my Christmas was as good as yours.

  21. kalisa on December 27th, 2011 7:33 pm

    damn. you got a good man.

  22. Stephanie on December 27th, 2011 7:35 pm

    Dying to know: where in Michigan did they live?

  23. alyn on December 27th, 2011 8:28 pm

    JB MADE the clock for you (well the stuff that surrounds the works)? That is so cool!

  24. Linda on December 27th, 2011 8:48 pm

    Bouncy: TOTAL surprise. :)

    Stephanie: the UP — Gulliver, near Manistique.

  25. velocibadgergirl on December 27th, 2011 10:28 pm

    Love the upside-down reflection photo. And the clock! What a great gift.

  26. sooboo on December 28th, 2011 12:49 am

    Beautiful gift, beautiful pictures!

  27. Lucy on December 28th, 2011 3:55 am

    What a lovely thoughtful present! I love it that you and your family have such an incredible sense of family and the outdoors. Wonderful.

  28. Lucy on December 28th, 2011 3:58 am

    And wow, you look sooo like Riley around the eyes in your photo – adorable!

  29. lisa-marie on December 28th, 2011 10:57 am

    That is such a sweet gift! Your pictures are lovely as well. They were all taken on a cell phone? Really? Wow! What kind of phone do you have?

  30. Linda on December 28th, 2011 11:00 am

    Thanks Lisa Marie! It’s an iPhone 4S, and most of the images have been run through an Instagram filter.

    I need to get back to my trusty old Nikon, but it sure is easier carrying a tiny little phone around.

  31. lindsayc on December 28th, 2011 11:51 am

    I cried when I saw the photo of you & the clock, what a great gift.

  32. Joanne on December 28th, 2011 1:05 pm

    Your picture is so sweet, it really does say it all. I love the other pictures, too but it looks like you weren’t on the vacation! My pictures are the same way, there’s practically no photo proof that I am these kids’ mother.

  33. Sarah on December 28th, 2011 5:59 pm

    I got teary reading about your gift. How sweet! What a treasure.
    I love the photo too. What a gorgeous time.

  34. sheilah on January 4th, 2012 8:44 am

    JB’s thoughtfullness makes me all teary. I love that last photo…it should be framed an put on a wall.

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