Growth Spurts: Roll Film!
During one of the ice days last month, when my children were home from school, we decided to watch some of our old home movies. Through the magic of video, we were able to relive so many wonderful moments–births, Christmas mornings, play times, crawling, first steps, adventures with baby food, first words, birthday parties, making music. We even got a glimpse of some of our everyday lives back then–things like mealtimes, bathtimes, times of just goofing off together. We got to see what the kids liked to play with most when they were toddlers and how they got along with each other. Or didn’t.
We got to revisit our old houses and were reminded of some of our old belongings. We got to see the faces of some friends we haven’t seen in many years. We got to hear our children’s cute little voices and watch their individual personalities develop. We got to see our daughter’s reaction to her first white Christmas. And we saw many, many impromptu performances.
The danger in indulging in long viewings of home movies is that you may find yourself feeling sad that those days are gone (and that you have aged quite a bit). You may find yourself looking back and forth from the giggly, drooly, chubby baby on the screen to the tall, slender young lady on the couch beside you, who is wearing makeup and has the same shoe size as you do…and wondering how this is the same person. Wasn’t it just the other day that you wereteaching/begging her to say “Mama” and taking turns blowing raspberries on each other’s cheeks?
The sentiment can be overwhelming. We can long for the past, wishing our babies were still babies. We can bemoan the fleeting days of swaddling, onesies, rocking, and kissing infant bellies and feet. We can lament the passing (and speeding up!) of time…and feel sorrow at our own lack of awareness of how precious the gift of time truly was.
We can be thankful for those precious days and the memories we have of them (and for the technology we have to preserve so many of them!). We can find joy in the continued “firsts” that our children are experiencing, whether it’s a first goal scored or a first dance or a first driver’s license! And we can take a lesson from those early years, in that we learn to appreciate the days that we have with our children living at home with us. Because as much as we love our children, the goal really is to prepare them to live independently of us.
I’m not advising the avoidance of watching old home movies, and I’m not instructing that we stay away from sentimentality altogether. I just don’t want us to miss the present by wishing for the past. Let’s soak up the wonder of our current precious moments. (And maybe even throw in a little celebration for not having to change diapers or wipe boogers with our bare hands anymore!)
Oh, and keep those cameras rolling during your kids’ teenage years, too–even if they don’t want you to. You’ll both (eventually) be glad you did.
Oh, and grandkids! I hear those are even better than having kids, because you can just spoil them and give them back to their parents. Something to look forward to.
Carrie Bevell Partridge also has to limit her lingerings on pictures of her kids that she posted on Facebook several years ago. She just can’t take the adorableness!