Tag Archives: growing children

Watching Family Movies


Shirley TempleLast year we asked our family to send our giant, unorganized box of hours of unedited family videos to a professional to have them put on DVD for us.  We told them, don’t worry about cute menus or putting them in order, we just want them in a form that we can watch.  No one has a VHS player anymore and even fewer no ones have an adapter for the mini cassettes that we used for years.  We hadn’t seen our kids’ baby videos for literally years!  We had forgotten about all the birthday parties and lost teeth and bedroom Karaoke performances.

So at Christmas time we received a large stack of burned DVDs labeled by year.  I was thrilled!  My daughters have been watching hours and hours of themselves as babies, memorizing every cute facial expression and infant squeal that they made.  It makes me wish I had video of myself as a toddler.

So last night we sat down as a family and watched a hour or so of random cuteness.  It made me realize two things:  Number one, my children really ARE as adorable as I think they are.  It was not a figment of my maternal bias to believe they were stinking cute.  And Number two:  I really DO have justification for being exhausted.  Just watching those videos made me tired all over again.  If it weren’t for having a cam-corder I wouldn’t remember hardly anything from those years of sleepless nights and multi-tasking days.  No wonder I’ve been tired for the last 16 years.

I am not yet to the stage where I am pining away for my babies.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be that kind of mother since I’m actually looking forward to the empty nest phase (don’t call me cruel).  For 16 years, I have dedicated myself, body and soul, to raising my kids well.  I am proud of the progress we are making, and I celebrate their milestones as they grow towards independence.  I know I’m going to enjoy them as adults too.  There is a season for everything:  a time to grow, a time to harvest; a time to shelter, a time to release into the world.  These are happy thoughts for me.  As one season ends, another begins.

Ecclesiastes 3

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Photo credit: Walter Lang, director; 20th Century Fox film. Screenshot by 808Starfire. / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/public_domain”>Public domain</a>



So today I was sitting on a city bus kind of staring out the window, lost in my own little world.  And the thought occurred to me, “Am I paying enough attention to life?”  I am a day dreamer and I live a very full and lovely life… inside my head.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept interruptions and to focus on what is right in front of me.

So I wonder, am I paying enough attention to life or is it passing me by?  For example, my daughter Lucy is very easy to read.  I know for certain when she feels like she needs more attention because she gets right in my face.  If I keep busying myself with whatever I was doing and dodge her attempts to snag my gaze, she gets naughty.  So she’s easy to read.  But what about the other two?  I wonder if I’m giving them what they need.

But then I think about my childhood in comparison with theirs.  I grew up right on the edge of the time when kids could still go outside to play unsupervised.  I remember playing with my sister for hours and hours without my parents hovering over us.  When we complained that we were bored, never once did my parents stop what they were doing and play a game with us.  They told us to play together… or they assigned us chores to keep us out of their hair.  And guess what, we survived… and thrived.  I have a wonderful imagination even as an adult.  But I didn’t get that from having my parents entertain me as a child.

So as a parent I straddle this odd line between giving my kids attention when they want it and pushing them off me.  I’m not a kid, I don’t want to play board games or watch another episode of Dora the Explorer.  Does that make me a lousy parent?  No, but it does make me wonder if someday I’ll wake up and think “Man, I could really go for a rousing game of Candy Land.”