Sick of the TV, and unable to concentrate on a book, but longing to do something constructive while I was down, I decided I would pull out some old home movies.
I have several movies, on VHS that I had taken of our son with my sister's video camera - the popular and probably only means back then. Honestly, I don't think I have ever watched these videos. I am sure I have never shown them to Matt. I was ready for a marathon. I pulled up and old favorite chair, directly in front of the television, got my blankie, the remote and got ready to put my feet up while I whiled away the hours - at least 8 of them. Life never felt so good.
I started with the videos of Matthew when he had made the local news. They were the shortest ones so it helped me feel like I had a good start on the stack. I remembered two times he was newsworthy, but I found out there were 3 - at least so far. ;-) After viewing those, I watched each birthday party that was recorded. I found that the videos stopped at age 13. I watched age 2, 3, and 4 and then the one I made of him at age 13. This last one also included quite a lot of information about our new acreage - we moved when he was 11- and my husband spraying the fields, complete with my dissertation.
I had been feeling like such a lousy parent of late and truthfully, I feel like this may have been the Lord's prompting to show me I wasn't so bad after all. Don't worry young parents, you will feel like this once in a while too. It is just part of parenting I believe. Especially once it is all over and one has plenty of time to look back.
I found instead of the wicked villain I had perceived myself. I was polite, encouraging and supportive. Truthfully, I was shocked. Now I know there were many times, I was not a fair parent. I yelled too much, I was too strict, I didn't pay attention at times I should have. These were the things that were running through my mind over and over. I knew I had spent too much time on the computer, trying to learn to make web pages with hopes of creating a job from home that would help us financially without me having to work outside the home. I spent too much time talking with friends on the phone, trying to help and minister to them believing that is what a good Christian would do. I regret much of that, now. I regret associations I joined, knowing they ended up in chaos, and mostly all for naught. With all of that, I needed this video. I saw someone I didn't know. And I don't mean to make this about me. It isn't. It is about our loving God, Who is always there to encourage us when we are feeling at our absolute worst. I needed some normalcy to life, to help me remember I didn't do everything wrong, and my day in video land gave it to me.
So with that, I thought it would be fun to write about some of the highlights. You know a mama always LOVES best to be able talk about her child! I laughed and I cried as I watched. I will try to keep this as upbeat as possible.
After viewing a couple hours of Matthew's 3rd birthday...and we are talking 3 days of celebration...I asked Matt what his favorite part of everything. Without any prompting, he didn't miss a beat when he answered "Jesus." After 3 parties in 3 days, 3 cakes and mounds of presents for a 3 year old, and lots of kids in attendance, that is exactly what a mama wants to hear. It warmed my heart then, and it warms my heart even more now.
Another thing that especially made me laugh was when we were making a birthday cake. It was for his 3rd birthday, I think. He kept asking if he could lick the frosting, and me admonishing him not to put his fingers in it. I promised him a taste when we were done. I finally relented (and I am thankful I did) and gave him a small spoonful, with frosting just at the tip of the spoon. I then continued frosting the cake while telling him to wait until we were done for more. Just then, he fell off the little step-stool he was standing on and while trying to catch himself, his hand went directly into the cake getting frosting all over his fingers. He looked delighted at this turn of events and I laughed so hard! He got to lick his fingers after all.
I guess his 3rd birthday must have been quite a milestone and especially eventful. He had quite a large party with several guests. There were so many gifts, that I didn't want to hold people up or have them get bored by taking so much time opening them. So we carefully opened packages removing the gift wrap, but I didn't allow him to play with the gift or remove the packaging it came in. He was so good about letting me set each gift aside and moving on to the next thing; but it was obvious there were times he just wanted to play with the item he had received. Finally it came time to open one from daddy and mommy. We knew he had wanted this gift and felt confident he would be excited. It was a brand new helmet to go with his new roller skates. He almost had desperation in his eyes, as he tried to get it out of the package after the gift wrap had been removed. I had been side-tracked with conversation but the video kept rolling on him trying to get the helmet out of the box. Now, as I watched this video all these years later and seeing him so desperately wanting to put his new little helmet on, I was scared to death when the camera came back to me I would be telling him to set it aside. Watching gift after gift of me telling him to wait, I was certain that is what I probably had done. But now seeing this, I knew that would have absolutely been the wrong thing to do. I cringed desperate myself to see what happened next. Thank God to my relief, I let him open the packaging on this present and helped him put on his new helmet. THANK GOD!! I reiterate!!! I think God knew I would need that some day. I would have hated myself forever, if I had said no to him on this one. It was time to let him splurge and for guests to understand. I'm sure they did.
When Matthew was a baby, I would hold him in my arms and we would dance in front of the mirror in our living room. He loved seeing himself in the mirror and me swaying to the music. As he got older, we would still do this only now, he would hold onto my hand and steer me the direction he wanted to go by putting pressure on my thumb. For as long as I can remember while growing up, I danced with my son. This was one of the reasons, it was so important for me to have a mother/son dance at his wedding. I felt it would be the last time. And even if it wasn't, I wanted this moment symbolic of something we did in his childhood. I was so pleased to see we had captured some of these moments on tape. I was still lifting him up in my arms at 4 and 5 years of age and we danced until I could no longer hold him because he had gotten so heavy. Back then, I think I thought he actually enjoyed the dance. Now watching decades later, I realized it was probably most likely that he simply enjoyed making me so dizzy!
Well anyway, you get the idea - our life in video. There are many more videos left and I will use the rest of winter to finish watching them. I can justify it with that New Year's Resolution thing...the one about cleaning out and organizing the chaos in my life. This is a good place to start. And after I have watched for awhile, I am sure there will be more to write. Stay tuned for part two of the Home Video Marathon!