Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hindsight is 20/20

I remember back in 1985 when my husband bought our (his) first VHS! video camera.  It was about the size of a current microwave oven and probably heavier!  It was not coincidental that this purchase was made the same year our only son was born.  His birth was the main impetus for this purchase but also playing into the decision were the "advancement" of the technology and the balance in our checkbook.  Suffice it to say, once TJ had the video camera, all we saw for what seemed to be years was him following us around with a small microwave oven on his shoulder pointed in our general direction.  We enjoyed watching the videos over the years and the kids loved laughing at themselves on TV.

 We recorded many special family moments along with some regular days and then the random "black screen with sound" that happened when TJ would forget to take the lens cap off and leave the camera on....those are particularly exciting.  Technology has come a long way and at some point we no longer had the ability to view our old VHS tapes so we tediously converted some of them to DVDs.  This conversion process provided us with hours of entertainment combined with a few moments of 20/20 hindsight.

One of the most glaring moments was the day after our youngest child was born.  We have a video of me and the new baby just home from the hospital when the older three children are meeting their new sister.  Daddy is recording the whole thing.  New mommy is gently sitting on the sofa while daughter number two is holding the baby and daughter number one is petting the baby's head.  Both girls are looking sweetly at their new sister and new mommy is watching attentively to make sure the baby is held properly.  In the background the only sound that can be heard is the voice of a little 3 1/2 year old boy saying, "Hey Dad....look at me, look at me!"....over and over and over!  I'll let you process this scene.

I am sure in the "moment"  I had no idea how displaced that little 3 1/2 year old boy was feeling.  Think about it...I just had a baby the day before!  What the heck was I doing home so soon anyway???  Secondly, I was coming home to three other children and a husband who relied heavily on me.  I was probably thinking, "Can I just go to bed for a while and rest?" or "HELP!" or " can you get him off the arm of the sofa and tell him to be quiet?".   

In hindsight, that little boy had been the focus...along with his sisters, of that video camera for the last three years.  He was used to doing flips on the sofa and having them be video worthy.  He could do almost anything and it would have been video worthy.  Suddenly this little baby comes in and steals his limelight.  It took me a while to catch on to this at the time, but boy it was glaringly obvious watching the video.  Hindsight...

There are several more videos in the following weeks that are focused on the newborn baby and they all include shots of a little boy balancing on the sofa arm, rocking on a bar stool, standing on one leg, jumping on the little trampoline or just running around in circles and always in the background you can hear, "Hey Dad....look at me!".   

I watch these videos now and wonder what other things did I miss because I was either not paying attention, busy putting out another fire, totally unaware of, or just too exhausted to notice?  My kids can probably shed more light than I'd like on this.  They can write about it in their books!

One more funny video I'll have to share, because it really gives some perspective on how crazy a house is with four children at times and how it can lead to bad decisions.  Picture this....Dad is taking a video of little baby girl who is lying on the kitchen counter.  The baby is crying.  The 3 1/2 year old brother is kneeling on a chair next to the counter in front of the crying baby with one arm on either side of the baby...I assume to keep her from falling to the ground when she rolls over for the first time!  Dad pans over to the kitchen sink and a pile of clean dishes and says "my accomplishment for the night". I think to myself ... "Wait!  You aren't watching the baby!  Go back to the baby!"  He goes back to the baby who is still crying and the little boy has a very worried look on his face...because the baby is lying on the counter and she's crying!  Dad tells him to talk to the baby.  Dad then pans the video to one of the older sisters who walks into the room.  Again I think...."THE BABY!!"  Whew, back to the crying baby still safe on the kitchen counter!  Sometime during the video Dad reveals that Mom is out taking a walk.  I think to myself, "I would have never left the house if I knew what was happening while I was out."  I guess what I never knew.. never hurt me...or the children apparently.   

I'm glad we took all those videos.  I hope my children can look back fondly on their childhoods and know that even though we may not have had 20/20 vision back then, we had 20/20 intentions.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Finding My Voice

Today as I read my favorite blogs I experienced a little blog envy. I only read a couple of other blogs regularly.  They are both moms and are younger than I.  They both have a sharp wit and  I love that about them!   I was wishing I had their voice.  This lead me to wonder... what is my voice?  Finding a voice was actually one of the key points made in the writing class I took last year.  I think I am sometimes serious, sometimes funny, sometimes reflective and sometimes spiritual, often sarcastic. I've been told I remind people of Erma Bombeck....a huge compliment in my book.  I loved her!  She had a way of saying things that were so true in a way that was humorous. For instance, one of her quotes on raising children, " I take a very practical view of raising children.  I put a sign in each of their rooms 'check out time is 18 years' "....gotta love that woman!  Another gem, " God created man, but I could do better.".  Alas, I am not Erma!

Another voice I enjoy, and don't groan when you read this, is Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and The City.  I could not watch the show when it first came out.  I wasn't old enough...I was only in my early 40's,  and we did not have HBO.  I only started watching it when the watered down version showed up on TBS.  I was actually somewhat shocked when I saw an uncensored version, especially when I realized my daughters had been watching it for years.  Carrie's life was light years away from mine.  My 20's and 30's were not spent in New York City, wearing designer clothes, working on my career and sleeping around looking for love in all the wrong places.  Nope, I was firmly planted in suburbia raising children, making a career as a room parent- carpool expert-high school sports fan, and believe me... there was nothing designer in my life!  At least I had found love!  Even though we had (and still have) nothing in common, I always enjoyed Carrie's narration of each episode.  I liked her "voice".
This is what Erma would have to say about the fashions in Sex and the City!

I guess this puts me somewhere between Erma Bombeck and Carrie Bradshaw.  Sex and the Suburbs?
No one is buying that one!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Back to School

Have you been to any of your high school reunions?  I went to my 10th and 15th reunions and enjoyed both.  I seem to remember my 10th was a bit of a challenge for me because I had just given birth to my 3rd child...and I mean "just" as in he was a month to six weeks old.  I lasted about an hour or two at the reunion and let my husband (who knew as many people at my reunion as I did) stay while I went home to my new baby.  Yup, I sported that awesome post baby belly to my 10th reunion...not the impression every girl wants to make to the classmates she hasn't seen in years.   The 15th was a lot more newborn baby to distract me from all the reuniting.  It's been a long time since those reunions!

Last weekend, we attended my husband's 40th! class reunion in White Plains, NY.  Where did the time go?  He was intent on attending and since it was October in the northeast I was happy to leave the land of no fall  for a place bound to have a little fall color and friendlier temperatures.  I'll admit it....I was not totally psyched about the reunion part.  He went to an all boys Catholic high school.  I know about 3 of the guys he went to school with and two of them were not even going to be there.  I'm a good team player though so I went to the reunion.

the hallowed halls.....

After going to his reunion, I really hope my class has a 40th reunion!  I never expected to see so many men so happy to see each other!  The weekend was filled with honest enthusiasm and a true appreciation to see so many of their classmates and to visit the hallowed halls of their high school.  There was the usual catching up and more than one walk down memory lane. It made me think this is probably the best time in life to reunite with high school friends.  The way I see it is, we are old enough to have a real perspective on this life and still young enough to enjoy a weekend of partying.  Most of us have raised our families and are comfortable in our careers and some of us are even retired.  We are able to look past all the stereotypes we held onto in high school and just be who we are and appreciate others for who they are.  I think after living in our own skin for 50+ years most of us are finally comfortable being ourselves.  We have lived through being teenagers and raising teenagers!  Life looks a lot different from this side doesn't it?

So...if you have a chance to go to your high school reunion...or your loved one's reunion, go!  You will feel young....and old all at the same time.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hello? Fall?

Hello? Fall... it's me, Lisa.  Remember me?  We've met before.  There were a few years when we were really good friends, back when I lived in Toronto. Where are you?  The calendar says you should have arrived by now.  I left you in Nova Scotia a couple of weeks ago and I thought you would be on your way down here by now.  I know it takes you a little longer to get down here but what is taking so long?  Your stubborn sister season, Summer, is wearing out her welcome.  She is still really hot, I thought she'd let up on us by now....but noooo. She decided she would add a lot of humidity because heat feels so much more miserable with a lot of humidity. I am beginning to think she is never going to leave. I need your help!

I promise to plant your favorite flowers when you get here.  You know...the cute purple and yellow ones?  I know they are your favorite colors. The leaves on some of the trees think you are here already because they are starting to drop their leaves.  The squirrels are getting ready for your arrival, they are hunting and gathering like you are right around the corner.  I have to believe they know what they are doing. The stores in town are ready for you too!  There are boots in the shoe stores and sweaters in the clothing stores.  The only problem is that we still need to wear tank tops and flip flops.  I love Fall clothes and I can't wait to comfortably wear my jeans and boots.  Send me some cool days and nights so I can finally put away my tired summer wardrobe.

Fall, I'll bet you are economically minded aren't you?  Just think of all the electricity you can save us by cooling off the south.  Being green is very important, help us be green by letting us open our windows and turn off our air conditioners.  The world will be a better place if you just get a little more aggressive and blow through sister Summer.  You can do it!  Stop being such a wimp!  Don't let that huge body of water, the Gulf of Mexico, keep bullying you back up north.  Push your way down here....for the environment!

I am looking forward to visiting you this weekend in New York state.  I sure would love it if you would jump into my suitcase and come home with me!  Think about it.

Your Sweaty friend,

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