A few weeks ago, Scott and I spent the weekend at my parent's house. During our stay, they surprised me with some old home movies that Mom and Dad had transferred to DVDs. The only home movies I had seen from my childhood so far were from seventh grade on, covering my most awkward phases when I was self-conscious and wouldn't smile for the camera. While watching the videos we experienced all the typical home movie viewing reactions--we laughed, we cried, we were bored and we were surprised. But there were a few videos that seemed to follow me after we had finished watching them. Videos of my parents when they were new. Hearing their twenty-something voices talk to me as an infant caught me completely off guard. They sounded so young and I swear my mom pronounced my name differently back then. Videos of my Poppy smiling at me and loving me exactly the way he does in my memories. A video of my Nonny playing the piano at Christmas time. Gosh, she was good. And some early videos of me falling in love with the ocean, like this one.
I highly recommend finding old home movies and pulling them out (as if you didn't already know they were valuable). The main reason is not (just) to ooh and aww over your own youthful adorableness. One of the best reasons I've found is to observe the people in my life who I love. To see what my parents were like before I could remember. To see what mattered to them in their daily life. To remember what my deceased grandparents sounded like, what they wore, what they did with their hands when they talked. In small ways, watching those videos has given me a new perspective on the people in my life. And, ok, I'll admit it, it was pretty fun finding videos, like this one, of events that give me a window to the moments where I first discovered the things I love.