Today I want to talk about old family videos. I’m talking about the kind of videos that make you embarrassed to watch after years of maturing. I’m not gonna lie, I was quite the weird child. From ages 0-3 I was the cuttest thing on the planet. Then it all went south as far as my cuteness goes, and my weirdness took full flight. I am not a shameful guy. I take pride that no one can blackmail me with anything because I will just laugh it off. And I have.
But…..ha. There is one home video that to this day is the most embarrassing home video to date involving my sister Nicole (who was 8 or 9 years old), my sister Robyn (4 or 5), and myself (6 or 7), and we are dancing in the living room. “Awwww cute.” No. I’m sorry no. Not even to the viewer, no. You probably wouldn’t stop laughing at how ridiculous we look….me in particular. I won’t say which song, but I was dancing to it….and I was dancing very weird. Some day I will come to grips with this video and get past the awkward dance sequence that only one other soul outside my immediate family has seen…my brother in law Randy.
I was coming home from a long day at the Dominicks Grocery Store, where I worked when I was 15. I open the door to a roar of laughter from the living room. I throw my shoes and coat off to quick see what they are laughing about. As I turn the corner, my stomach drops. It’s the video. THE Video. Worst of all, there is Randy, who wasn’t even family yet…he was just Nicole’s friend at the time. I was horrified. Naturally, I sat on the couch and just let the humiliation wash over me, wave after wave of tasteless dancing and 7-year-old stupidity. It lightened up when the video switched over to my birthday party at the FUnZOne. This thing was decked out with ball pits and cushion slides. McDonalds Playground on growth hormones. This video is Randy’s favorite to this day because it includes a scene of me getting out of the ball pit, sprinting around a corner, and smacking my head on a cushioned horizontal bar that lays me out flat on the ground. I then immediately get up and go into the tunnel like nothing ever happened. It was a scene straight out of America’s Funniest Home Videos.
And yet, the other day I was looking at some of those older home videos, and I had an interesting reaction. I felt closer to my family all of a sudden. For some reason, seeing my parents when they were younger brought perspective once again to how I see them as people now more than ever, rather than just parents. This shift started happening around 2006 when I would come back from college in Michigan to visit my parents and siblings. The parental roles began to dissolve and they began to take on more of a mentor role. They will always be my parents. Always. Russ will always be my Father, and Sharon will always be my Mother. And still, the relationship began to reform, as it should when a child becomes that age.
Hear me out. This is my point:
Over time, you begin to forget that your parents were once 18, 20, 35. That they too were once young and had fun. Watching videos of my parents on the beach, dancing with my newly born, older sister Nicole, was an emotional experience. The look of happiness in my parent’s eyes. Their first child, together. What happiness was in store for them. They were so young. Fast forward to a video of Robyn, no more than a year old, laying belly down on the living room floor playing with her toys. Nicole and I running around the house because our Dad was chasing us with the camera. Laughter fills the hallways. Love fills the house.
It’s a hard thing to explain to a reader the connection I’m talking about. Seeing those old videos connected me to a time removed from now. A timeless place, an eternal place. The feeling I felt was…Love. And the only thing I could think in that moment was this: This is a Love that I want someday, for my kids, for my family. I am so thankful for my parents and how they raised Nicole, Robyn and I. I am in their debt for the blanket of Love that they wrapped our home in day-in and day-out. Your example is what Nicole carries into her marriage and what Robyn carries into hers. This is a tribute to home videos, haha, and most importantly to Parents everywhere who stick it out for their children’s sake. For their future’s sake…so that one day….their children’s lives will become a blessing for their devotion to Love. Thanks Mom & Thanks Dad.