Forgive me for getting overly sappy and nostalgic, as I’m wont to do around here. We’ve recently converted some old camcorder tapes to DVDs, and yesterday I watched one for the first time in years. We just chose one at random, cleverly entitled Logan VI, from 1999, when my sixteen year old son was only three and my other two children were not yet born.
It is a funny sensation, going back in time and spying on yourself for a day. The things you notice on the recording are probably not the things you think will have any impact while you’re recording the event: the clothes, the hairstyles, your weight, the cars, the decor, any (now deceased) pets lingering in the background, the size of the trees…all of those little markers of time are key supporting actors in the film. I guess that’s why there are Oscars for set design and costumes — they add significant value to the feeling of the piece. And they are all whispering the same thing in my ear, “Everything changes.”
I am not a big fan of change. Eventually, I always make my peace with it, but I tend to fight it hard along the way, kicking and screaming. It is not one of my more charming qualities. Seeing this video yesterday was helpful therapy, though. As much as I longed to climb back into that day with my cuddly, precocious, super cute three year old who loved his mommy more than anyone, I realized that there were still two very important people missing: Nate and Andrew. Change isn’t always bad. It is always hard for me, but I am usually better off for it.
I can’t imagine a better time than right now. I find myself holding on tight to these days, as change is on the horizon. Logan will be driving soon. Nate will be starting middle school. Andrew is getting more and more involved with sports. The peaceful rhythm of our current life will soon be very, very different — not necessarily worse, but definitely different, and I DON’T WANT IT TO BE DIFFERENT. It’s perfect just the way it is right now. See my dilemma?
Another thing the DVD from yesterday showed me is that I’ve forgotten a lot of things. So many crucial details of those early days as a family have been erased from the front of my mind: the way Logan talked, his special blanket and bunny he dragged around everywhere a la Linus, how sweetly gentle and obedient our Golden Retriever was, how our cat Lulu weaseled her way into almost every frame…I had forgotten all of it until I was reminded yesterday, and then it seemed so normal and familiar again. It almost made me want to record every day of my life right now, so I can spend my days in the nursing home watching random Tuesdays from 2012. Pathetic or genius?
There is one picture of the three on them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. — Anna Quindlen