Shuffling some tissues and ribbons, I uncovered a small video cassette that had fallen between the drawers of my desk. It set me to wondering how many others I had randomly laying unprotected. A quick search rounded a few more.
I don't even know how you watch these without some transfer help in a progressing digital world. Thank heavens for fourteen year old boys, cables and old cameras.
That's how I found myself cuddled up with my people watching their childhood antics.
I listened to my voice interviewing with intent questions. I must have been calmer then. At least I sounded so. Still I cringed. I don't like the sound of my own voice on tape.
Reaching over that bit of vanity, I watched them give their little answers to my inquires, soaking up the attention of an absolutely present mom. Digging interest into their every day. Asking about favorites, feelings, hobbies, surroundings. Being theirs as they were mine.
Sometimes silliness ensued. When it escalated, I'd cut the filming. I remember thinking in the moment, no posterity would want to see inane insanity. I was wrong. Today's audience wanted more of that reality.
Over all, the course of the tapes ran with lengths of ballet and violin recitals, school programs and graduations. After momentary viewing, we'd fast forward to the short clips of every day simplicity.
Protests of the current baby in the background.
Nuttiness from the boys.
Living room dance party competitions.
A cross face and nudge revealing some still current characteristics :)
Ignored insults thrown at the film maker's back.
Theatrical play creations.
We laughed until our sides hurt over the little bits and pieces of our lives. Life that in the moment I considered mighty hard as I juggled multiple rounds of diapers, crazy school morning send offs and after school activities.
I cursed myself for not capturing more. In those small bits of time, I did not know how much I'd miss the here and now.
Days later, I rushed teenagers to the bus stop in zero degree temperatures. We sat huddled again, this time waiting for the car heater to kick in. My mind dwelt on the day's schedule and looming calendar until laughter broke into my mental agenda.
They were companionably chattering away. Seconds later, hopping out of my car off and away. Yet another piece I'd somehow glazed my way through never to return, to my suddenly awakened dismay. Another small bit as notable as any video preserved one.
The silent ride home led me to think on the every day-ness that supersedes the staged accomplishments of childhood. We go from event to event. Performances, sporting games, rehearsals, programs. ... and think them important enough to record, give full attention, provide accolades.
My tapes were full of such, peppered with bits of life.
And yet ...
As the view unfolded in the watching just days before, the staged achievements held little interest.
The nativities gone awry, cake covered one year olds, companionable snowman making, little boy high jinks, bathtubs full of bubble sculpted hairdo's and playful sibling banter ... we could not get enough of.
That was were we wanted to be.
When I stand in a crowded kitchen navigating dinner, homework help and hilarity, do I realize that this very moment will one day be more notable than any Star Spangled concert? That I'll wish more than anything to revisit the sound of their voices, the look in their eyes, their relation to one another, the personalities, the humor, the every day. Do I give it full due? Treat it as noteworthy?
That is where I will want to be.
In the stuff that life is made of.
The every day-ness of things.
Unfiltered and unglazed.
Now to appoint a family videographer ...