My mom came to visit this weekend, and she and Mark got into a debate about who was an earlier walker, Mark or me (because we each walked around eight or nine months). And they were getting weirdly competitive about it, like so much so that they were pulling out baby books to verify dates and calculate ages… And then, because we’re focused on all things baby, Mark randomly popped some of his parents’ home videos from his first year of life into our VCR (yes, we have one of those)…
NOTE: I don’t have any such home videos from my childhood because my parents did not own a video camera. Legend has it, Mark’s parents owned a video camera only because Mark’s great aunt, Edna, died, and her dying wish was that Mark’s family own such a thing, and it was so important to her that she wrote it into her will and also spoke about it on her deathbed. (Not sure if I believe this.)
But anyway, we watched for quite some time, and here are some of my thoughts/observations…
I’m not sure how anyone survived back in the day. Mark’s crib was full of bumpers and blankets and stuffed animals and plastic grocery bags (kidding). But, in all seriousness, there were suffocation hazards abundant, and there was no Angelcare baby movement monitor.
In one scene, Mark’s mom is holding Mark over the edge of their deck, much like Michael Jackson held “Blanket” over that balcony so many years ago, which resulted in a shitstorm of tabloid controversy.
Mark’s mom was/is a fabulous mother. (Well, sans the Blanket incident.) In each of the videos she never stops moving and entertaining and talking to Mark. EVER. She’s like the freaking Energizer Bunny, and I’m pretty sure those prone to post-partum depression should steer clear of these videos, because seeing them would probably promote development of an inferiority complex and thoughts of running away from home forever and ever.
Mark’s parents had this blue parakeet that was constantly flying around their house and also perching on everyone’s shoulders. (Mark swears it only pooped in its cage despite my mom’s insistence that this isn’t possible.)
On a side note, during my childhood we had a similar parakeet, but one day my mom met some strangers at the park and invited them to our house for a playdate, and the kids, who apparently were future juvenile delinquents (or serial murderers), killed our parakeet. Wommmp. Wommmp.
There’s a creepy scene in one of the videos in which Mark’s mom tells Mark, “This (blowup rattle toy) is Katie – we almost named your sister Katie.” And I’m not sure what in the hell she is talking about because in the video Mark is one, and his sister is at least two years away from being born, and Mark is the oldest child, and his parents never lost a child, so who is Katie, this mysterious sister? If I had to guess I’d say that Mark’s mom meant that if Mark were a girl he might have been named Katie, but that wouldn’t make Mark’s sister Katie, rather it would make him actually Katie, a different person entirely, because one isn’t a sibling to his/her theoretical opposite gendered self. But since this wasn’t appropriately explained, the scene ended up being more like something straight from The Exorcist.
Mark was a curious little boy, constantly taking in the details of all of his surroundings – I already see a little bit of this characteristic in Joel. I wonder if this will hold true as Joel gets older. Mark had a serious fixation with his toy vacuum cleaner. To this day, he still does all of our vacuuming.
Mark’s first birthday cake was… Interesting.
Mark received so much attention/love on his first birthday, which makes sense seeing that he was the first grandchild. In the video, everyone (except his grandparents) is in their 20s or 30s and looks so happy. It’s kind of sobering to think about where everyone is now. While everyone in the video is still alive, some have suffered devastating tragedy, including Mark. (Who would have thought this cute little boy would lose his first child?) Life is hard and goes by fast, and growing older seems to allow room for more loss/tragedy (and, on a positive note, many blessings too).
I’m so thankful that Mark’s parents captured all of these precious moments – what a gift! Mark and I vowed that over some of the holidays, we’d set up a similar video camera in the corner of the room, so Joel might also be able to have sweet home videos to look back at someday.