23 November 2011

Handycam saved the past

Last weekend I had this brilliant suggestion on  watching home videos of my boy from 5-6 years ago. There was no decent family movie to rent  that day and the boy was getting really bored anyway. At first I thought of playing one or two of those stored up dvds. We ended up playing all.

While watching, I couldn't help but congratulate myself and Lakay for our decision to buy that very reliable handycam, one of our two expensive properties as young parents then (the other one was our digital camera). The pictures were pristine. It captured those toothless smiles, the awkward crawling and walking, the exact pitch and tone of his 2-year-old counting (1-3-2-4-6). It also showed how madly and hopelessly in love the parents were with this baby (like things have changed though the years???).

Time and again, I would steal some glances over the 6-year-old watching his baby self. Not much can be read from his face. And as her mother, I knew too well that something else was going on deep inside.

I was right. The day after, he asked me to play the dvds again. At first I thought he wasn't really "watching" them because he was playing with his toys simultaneously. So I was about to turn the player off when he pleaded no. For a moment, I found that strange, until I realized what was going on -he was parallel playing with his younger self.

I don't know exactly what this means to him or what it's doing to him now. All I know as a philosophy teacher is that having a past to "remember" contributes to a more or less stable sense of self. For instance, I think it helps my son appreciate the strong boy that has come out of that wobbly and drooling tot.

Perhaps it's not such a bad idea for over eager parents to document every single moment of their children's growing up years. Come to think of it, it's not just the kids who gain from this. For my part, those videos helped me have a grip of the younger mother that I was.

The happiness then was visible in my face, yes.  But so was a certain level of distractedness. When I saw this in the video, I smiled and silently said to my self, "You silly you!" For a brief moment, my old issues  came back to me - that stupid concern for the rat race, the constant worrying about the future, and other trivial issues which I cannot bring myself to declare openly. My point here is that as much as I had a glorious life with our first bundle of joy, I was too preoccupied by other things. Hence, much of that glorious life almost went down the drain forgotten.

The handycam, perhaps, was God's divine way of remedying the stupidities of young parents. Those lenses gave me a chance to look back and see again the gift that was placed before me while my eyes were roaming everywhere. And I guess becoming more aware of that makes one exert more effort in being present in the moment.

I've been a mother for six years now. Have I grown? One priest told me something lately which I consider to be one of the best flatteries I've ever been given. He said, "You are closer to your self than I am to mine."  With that, I think  I can say now that I've had some improvements... Or better yet, I'll have to see again through the lenses of our handycam  in the next five years.


ruthietheotaku said...

Thanks for the heads up. I now watch out for those moments when I let other worthless things distract me from enjoying every second I have with Eric ;-) Love you sis!

Socraticmom said...

I had you, too, in mind when I wrote this entry. It's great to be reminded of these things. And you know something else, I just realized recently that being more present to them gives me more strength and direction for the day.