• Lydia Chu

The "cheesy" clock

Why our clock in the kitchen made me cry so much and what it means to me.

It was right after we moved into our new house after my second husband and I got married in 2017. We bought a new house in Davis, and were all excited about moving in and starting a new life.

We had a decent size wall space in our kitchen where I wanted to hang something special so I ordered this clock from Amazon. It wasn't an expensive clock or anything but I liked it because it had four picture frames that was part of the clock. I thought about putting pictures of our kids and family. Also, as part of the clock, there was a message that said "Time spent with family is worth every second". This quote is what got me to buy this clock, "cheesy" as it might sound.

In Vegas, 2015

It was a time in our lives where my daughters were teenagers. My older daughter was sixteen at the time and my younger one was going on 15. As a natural process of growing up, they were starting to spread their wings. I'm sure every parent knows what that's like especially if you've been a single parent as I have. I was having trouble letting them go as they tried to pull away. It was like having to let go of the rope that had them tied to me. No matter how hard I tried, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. With every ounce of energy, I wanted to hold on to that rope and never let go knowing that it would eventually slip away.

We received the clock in the mail and I asked my husband for help in putting it up. My girls were over at their dad's house at the time so my husband and I worked hard to put up the clock. It was little tricky since every part of the clock was in separate pieces. We carefully chose the best pictures (I thought) for the frames. After few hours, we finally had it up on the wall. I proudly looked at the clock. The pictures we had up were taken only few years back but it felt like it had been long ago. As I looked at the pictures on the clock, my heart filled with both sadness and joy reminiscing about the past and thinking about how much happiness my daughters have brought to my life. I love them more than my life, I thought..

My girls usually spend the weekends with their dad and typically comes back Sunday nights. After putting up the clock, I was upstairs doing other things and thinking about how much I was going to enjoy the clock and seeing my kids pictures every time I'm in the kitchen. I was so proud of my clock and couldn't wait to show it to the girls.

Around 7 that Sunday evening, my daughters came home with Ally, my younger daughter, walking in first ahead of her older sister, Hannah. From upstairs, I could hear Ally yelling, "Oh my god, that's so cheesy"! I can not begin to describe how heartbroken I was at that moment. As I tried to hide my hurt feelings, I walked down to see Ally standing in front of the clock looking disgusted. She didn't like the quote, the family pictures or the clock that was now part of our kitchen, the one that I was so proud of.

I asked Ally why she didn't like the clock. She said she didn't like the quote or the pictures. She didn't want her friends to come over and see the "cheesy" quote and wanted us to take it down. Trying my best not to cry, I tried to explain why I had chosen that particular clock and wanted to keep it. After few minutes of going back and forth over the clock, I could no longer hold back the tears (I find myself crying way more than my kids now. It's funny how that happens). I cried uncontrollably, devastated that she didn't like the clock that had meant so much to me.

This is the child who thought of me as her hero once and used to call me at work asking

me to come home so we can play together. I taught her how to ride her first bike, was there when she fell and cut her eyelid (she still has the scars). I spent many days consoling her through the rough times when her dad and I got divorced. I have fond memories of them cuddling with me in bed asking all kinds of questions (they used to call me "doctor mom"). I was the center of their world as they were mine.

My older daughter, Hannah, stood there without saying anything or taking sides as I cried unable to hold back the tears streaming down my face. It felt like a rejection and there was no way to hiding it. Ally was still not convinced and she stood her grounds, and so did I. We left it at that and the clock stayed up.

That was two years ago, and we still have the clock. Since then, many of my daughter's friends have come over, and each time, my daughters would tell me how much their friends appreciate the clock. We now laugh and joke about it. I have also told that "heart wrenching" story to many of our friends, and we have gotten lots of compliments over the clock. Maybe it wasn't so "cheesy" after all...

Now, whenever I look at the clock, I think back to that time. It was the beginning of many more tearful (for me) conversations I would have with my daughters as they try to claim their independence. Letting them grow up is by far the most difficult thing I've ever had to do. No matter how much I tried to prepare for it, it hasn't been easy. How do you learn to let your children go when they've been such an important part of your life and love them so dearly?

Regardless, I must brace myself for the inevitable as they no longer belong to me but to the world. Hannah will be going away to college this Fall and Ally will be leaving home next year. As they branch out to the world, I hope I have done my job to prepare them for the amazing experiences of their lives. I wouldn't have done it any other way.



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