I've finally got around to transferring my camcorder footage onto dvd (burning as us techies call it) and watching them has stirred up quite a lot. There's the usual surprise at how much the children have grown, tinged with the sadness that they'll never be that way again, plus the regret that they looked so cute and I don't think I fully appreciated how adorable they were. On top of that there was some unexpected footage of my recently deceased and much loved and missed grandmother. This upset me hugely because it was so fleeting (not to mention wobbly and out of focus), why didn't I take more shots and linger longer? I've tended to flick around quickly just getting brief shots of everything, but on watching it back, I realize I want to see more, so note to self to keep camera panned for longer.
The particular footage of my Grandma was during a family outing, which I remember as a very special end enjoyable day, but often I look back at the film and know that I didn't make the most of that day or hadn't been fully aware of lucky and happy I was.
The other thing I realized is that it's not just the special occasions which are so captivating, the ordinary everyday footage-having breakfast, bathtime,children's chatter is actually more precious, as it gives us a snapshot of life at that time, how the children's voices sounded, what decor and furniture we had, hairstyles, clothes etc. etc.
This was brought more sharply into focus by seeing a friend's footage of childhood cine film which her husband had had transferred to dvd. It was amazing to see her as a child, plus the clothes, food ,cars,hairstyles of the time. I found it incredibly moving to see shots of parents and grandparents who were no longer in her life. It is such a shame that it is often only in hindsight that we fully appreciate what we had. For a lot of people sudden death, illness or dramatic lifestyle change brings this sharply into reality, but I am determined this year to try and count my blessings and appreciate every ordinary day.