How a quirky gift choice led to a lasting connection between mother and son.
In Jake P.’s family, gift giving has a special meaning. On Christmas, for example, when the family gathers together, exchanging and opening gifts can warrant several hours. “It’s ingrained in us,” says Jake, who lives in Rochester, N.Y. “Each present is a story. One gift can take ten minutes to open, explain, and appreciate before we move on.”
Jake says he learned the art of thoughtful gift giving from his mom. “She’s a really good gift giver,” he says. “She shops for Christmas all year round; it’s rare that she doesn’t have her presents already purchased by September.” But one year, Jake’s mom wasn’t able to devote as much time to shopping for her loved ones and simply asked him what he wanted. “I said I wanted a cuckoo clock or a grandfather clock,” Jake says. “They’re interesting, vintage, and cute. But I never thought I’d get it, because it was an odd choice.”
On Christmas morning, however, Jake’s mom handed him a large, square, gorgeously wrapped box. “She’s a good wrapper, too,” he says. As he peeled back the paper, he saw that it said “Made in Germany” on the outside of the box. “As soon I saw that, I got really excited,” Jake says. His mom had meticulously researched the gift and imported a wooden clock complete with hand-painted flowers and figurines. “It gave me that same joy as getting a toy when I was younger,” Jake says.
There was just one problem: He didn’t have anywhere to hang the clock. Jake knew, however, that a new house was in his near future, because he and his husband were on the hunt. Sure enough, when they did a walkthrough of the house they ended up buying, he envisioned the perfect place for the clock—prominently displayed in the front hall. “Before we had even put an offer on the house, I identified the spot where the cuckoo clock would go,” Jake says.
Now, Jake says, the first thing he does when he wakes up on the weekend is set the weight-driven clock. And every hour when it chimes, he thinks of his mom. “It’s an audible reminder,” he says. “I know it will always make me think of her.”