How did parents do it way back before phones had cameras and diaper bags had a protective pocket for the camera with a big lens? How did moms capture the little smirk her little boy displayed without a means to record it? How did birth happen in words alone? No artful photo slides, no video edited to beautiful music. How did we come a hundred thousand years with all the birthdays and firsts without scrapbooks?
I admit I have felt less than adequate when I see the other moms snapping away while her sweet little offspring gnaws on an ice cream cone. There I am, licking along…maybe mimicing, maybe making up songs about licking the trees and cats.
I have ONE (1, uno, ichi, a singular) VHS tape that was moved to a digital file of four of my children at a campsite back in the late 80s. It was a gift from an old friend that we used to camp with. It’s interesting I don’t remember him and his wife stalking the kids with cameras. I certainly wasn’t. I was probably trying to prep the next meal, or change a diaper, or check for socks to make sure they were warm enough. We were probably on high alert as there was a creek nearby and all parents knew there were bears and teethy critters that demanded 150% attention in all directions. I couldn’t be distracted by the setting on a camera or fumbling for batteries. His wife passed away a couple of years ago, some 25 years after the video was shot. He emailed me asking if it was something we would like. (as if we had zillions of hours of footage of our kids doing ordinary things…the truth is…we didn’t have video of even the most important milestones. But I remember them, I was there. I saw it with my own eyes. Given enough quiet, I can recall an event with smells and words, the smiles, the embarrassments, the pain, the joy. It’s all in my brain….I just can’t digitally share it with you.)
Like a perfect A+ you just KNOW you nailed on a test you have been studying all week for, the moving footage proved to be exactly like I remembered. My daughter, standing in the cold. In a big purple hand me down coat , her tongue sticking out of her mouth, her head tilted up to the sky. She’s catching snowflakes and delighting in the taste of frozen rain. Her dark hair capturing the flakes, her little fingers tucked up inside the sleeves that are too long for her arms.
Just like I remember.