I was very organized when the kids were little and I would film them often using an 8mm camera. Immediately, I would transfer them onto VHS tapes so they would be easy to pop into the machine and watch. Fast-forward 18 years or so and we are on our last working VCR/tv combo! With the move imminent and feelings of nostalgia, AND seeing a sign in my copy store that they provide a DVD transfer service, I knew it was time to get this long-neglected task done. Such precious memories are too valuable to leave to chance (VHS tape breaking, no player in existence left on Earth, fire, etc.) and deserve to be protected.
I did the first batch of 16 with #5 missing because when I went to re-wind the tape (oh boy, remember when you had to 'be kind and rewind', lol!!!???) and check it was working I suddenly had a very big Al Roker telling me what the weather was going to be for that day in 1993! That particular year was copied over with the Today Show. Bummer, but it was really interesting to watch the news in hindsight! It is not an inexpensive process so even though I had a few more to have transferred, I started with 16.
When I got them back I checked the first CD. It was so funny to see ourselves at the beginning of our marriage in our first home. Now, 24 years and 4 houses later, here we are and re-living those early days is so amazing. To witness life as new parents of a darling daughter, and later a set of boy/girl twins, you realize you did pretty well. What a flurry of energy!! Of course, I filmed the babies' arrivals, holidays and celebrations, sports and school events, and visits to special places. But, more importantly, I made sure to record the mundane. The kids frolicking in the sprinkler, the interactions with grand parents, eating meals and just playing with toys or splashing in the bath. Those are the most heartwarming to watch and my kids are able to actually see what they were like. There were so many sweet moments between us and the siblings...kisses and tickles, laughing and dancing. I captured some of the squabbles too, (one twin was a biter!), stolen balls, eye patch from a thrown one, and the like. I filmed each house too (originally to prove the condition we'd left it in for each new buyer) which may seem boring but is a wonderful keepsake when looking back. I will do it for this house too.
We were a little melancholy to realize just how long we've been in this particular home and how young our kids were. I filmed as we drove down the road for the first time to show them the house and back then it was a new neighbourhood with tiny trees and open fields. Oh, how things have changed!
As I wax nostalgic for the years gone by I look forward to the next phase in our lives. I tell this tale to encourage you to gather and preserve your home videos and photos and to cherish those representations of your past. My children have joined us each night they are home to work through the CDs and remember their childhood. There was one disc copied from a tape my siblings and I made for our parents long ago. It contained mostly old home film from the 50s and 60s when my brothers were young and it is absolutely fascinating for me to see. The outfits, cars, and homes are so cool (especially now that I'm into vintage machines and adore period shows like MadMen) but seeing my mother and father as young parents themselves, pretty much doing the exact things we did (swimming, hockey, Christmas morning, visiting family) it was just one of those 'Circle of Life' moments. There is only about 30 seconds of footage of me (projector slides and a busy life took over for the movie camera) but it is wonderful to see my sister and me skipping around and playing in the sand. I know how much I enjoyed seeing those 30 seconds and happy I could give my kids HOURS of footage for them to experience.