Monday, January 31, 2011

Changing of the guard.

I’ve had my alarm clock for 18 years. It was a wedding present from my cousin Todd.

Todd was one of those cousins who was more like a brother than a cousin. In my earliest memories, Todd is there. He and my brother used to endlessly torment me when we were very young. They would lock me out of the house and try to scare the crap out of me when I turned a corner…but as we grew up, the relationship changed. It was an easy, fun relationship. In our teen years, I would fix Todd up with my friends, and in return he drove me around to get job applications and took me shopping at the mall.

On my wedding day, Todd was there, large as life. He smiled and laughed like nobody’s business…and true to form, as soon as the reception ended; there he was with his shirt off…running around like he owned the place.

But on that day…the best of all days…Todd gave Ryan and I this alarm clock.

Inside the alarm clock was a mixed cassette tape of Beatles songs that we could wake up to. Todd had made this tape himself, and although the mechanism broke many years ago…this alarm clock sat in my heart as one of my favorite gifts. It was practical AND thoughtful.

But 18 years on an alarm clock can be rough…especially one given to hard times like our own. That alarm clock has been used, overused and abused. Despite its faults though, it was completely reliable! And it was, as I said, from Todd.

Todd passed away 4 years after my wedding day. He was only 27 at the time. He passed in his sleep from an aneurism.

(This is the only pic I have of Todd at my wedding. I found this in the background of a picture of Ryan taking off my garter. I’m sure my brother was saying something snarky about me when the picture was snapped. Todd is the one without the bow tie.)

After his passing…the alarm clock became even more special to me. It was like a member of the family…like a guardian angel that would wake me to check sugars. Old faithful for sure! But through obvious wear and tear, and sad overuse…the alarm clock was coming to its end. It wouldn’t tune into the radio anymore. I could only wake up to white noise. Loud. Startling. White. Noise. (Not cool.) And the mix tape had long since been destroyed by a rouge toddler.

But even with all its faults…it never once occurred to me to replace it.

Last week we were at Costco buying an iHome for B with his Christmas money. He had gotten an iPod Touch and wanted a convenient way to charge it. They were only 35 bucks. “Hey…I’ll get one for my iPhone too,” I said. When we got it home and I opened the box, I found that there was a free alarm clock app that came with it.

I downloaded the awesome app and looked over at the alarm clock Todd had given me. I didn’t buy the iHome with the intention of getting rid of our old alarm clock. But here it was…ready to wake me with music from my iPod library. It was a heavier moment than I expected when I wrapped up the old alarm clock. I couldn’t throw it away, so it sits on the top shelf of my closet for now.

I got NO sleep the first night I used the new alarm clock. I was so worried it wouldn’t go off! Heck…I didn’t KNOW this alarm clock! We had just met! We had no history, how was I to know that it was reliable? I had to do two test alarms before I could go to sleep…just to make sure I was programming it correctly, and I kept waking up in the wee hours of the morning, staring at it… wondering if it would do its job as well as my old one had. In the end, it did wake me up. Quite sweetly I must say. It starts at a lower volume and then gradually gains its voice to wake me. I love it. I absolutely love it.

I can just picture all the alarm clocks that belong to the army of D parents and D peeps the world over. I’m sure there are many with worn buttons and broken parts. I’m sure there are a few that have been thrown across the room. (I’m ashamed to say that the clock Todd gave me has seen its share of floor time.)

I had no idea how significant the gift of an alarm clock would be on my wedding day. On that day I didn’t know that there would be nights that I would be setting the alarm to go off every hour, on the hour. I didn’t know of Our Diabetic life, or the heartache and worry that was ahead of me. Our boys were just a twinkle in our eyes back then.

I’m sure Todd had no idea either. But today I want to take a moment to thank him for it. It has been a good companion and provided a life saving service for our family many times over…many years over.

I know our family has been given guardian angels to watch over the boys. I know it. So it leaves me to wonder, has Todd taken the post? Is the alarm clock a symbol of his steadfast duty?

I don’t know. But the thought of it makes me smile through these tears.

God bless alarm clocks...

And God bless Guardian Angels.


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