We have an old mantel clock in our home that was in my childhood house when I was growing up. I always loved listening to it chime as a child – on every quarter hour, half hour and hour – all through the day and night.
But for as long as we’ve had it in our own possession it had stopped chiming. It would probably only take a very small adjustment at a clock repair shop to fix, but we put it off long enough that time passed, and the clock sat silent.
Recently, however, while dusting, the clock got jolted a bit and I heard an old familiar tone – just one – and oh, it was such a very sweet sound to hear, to remember.
As the days have gone on, so have the occasional chimes – sometimes only one, sometimes as many as eight or ten. There is no rhyme or reason, they do not correlate to the hour of the day or night.
They just happen.
And every time the gentle tone sounds, I stop what I’m doing momentarily and I listen.
Since this has been happening, I have thought we should really have it repaired, bring it back to its full chiming status. But there’s something about the randomness – the unexpected timing that appeals to me, and makes the moment that much more special.
As parents, we can try to pay attention when our own personal chimes happen.
Recently my daughter-in-law sent me a photo she snapped on her phone camera of Theo sleeping soundly. She shared that she thought she had heard him awake from his nap, but when she went in, he was still soundly sleeping.
“So sweet” she said.
“Bong” – a moment that stops you and reminds you and fills you with warmth.
We can all be aware of the random personal chimes in our lives, as our children grow, as our relationships mature. We can stop for just a minute and notice – really notice -our children’s expression, happy, pensive, sad. We can enjoy our child’s giggle, that raucous exchange between fun-loving siblings, the concentration on a child who’s working hard on a project, the quiet humming of a busy preschooler as he “works” at playing, a spouse gently carrying a tired child to bed, an “I love you” perfectly timed.
Our personal chimes – small moments to realize and cherish.
Watch for them.