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.

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