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When You See Yourself In The Past And The Future

Jacks Smacks 01292023

While recently packing up to move out of the family home where we all grew up, my brother stumbled across a bunch of old VHS tapes. 

He decided to give them to my sister last Thanksgiving. Thank goodness he also included an actual VHS player. Can you imagine being handed a bunch of mysterious memories from once upon a time with no real way to access them?

Making A Change In My Holiday Season:

That not-so-small gesture literally erased the majority of the To Do List on my end.”

2022’s holiday season was a bit different for me. As I wrote about in Did I Make A Faustian Bargain Or Am I Just Over  50s?, my bargain with the devil gave me a hall pass on all the yule-tide shenanigans. This past Christmas my son, my partner and I made the trek from Chapel Hill to Charlotte, N.C., to the home of my sister, who’d agreed to host the holiday. That not-so-small gesture literally erased the majority of the To Do List on my end. Of course, I helped. But what a difference it makes when one is not the lead. Moving from host to polite conscientious guest is a phenomenal way to alleviate stress, by the way, in case you are curious.

My son Aidan and I went a couple of days early. We wanted to spend some time with the family and we needed to accommodate our somewhat-newish “tradition” of a PRE-Noche Buena lunch out with friends. Of course, since we’d moved the event from Chapel Hill to Charlotte, we didn’t expect a full table of people. As it turns out, we got lucky. We got to share our lunch table with some friends who’d decided that adding an extra couple of days of travel to their holiday schedule was a “YES” for them.

The See Yourself Moment:

this video trip down Memory Lane was evidence enough”

After a full day of running around, lunching, and yes, even shopping (I know, who goes to the mall two days before Christmas but the amateurs and lazy boyfriends?), we found ourselves piled up on the couch in front of the TV and the formidably-sized VCR. 

My sister’s wife pulled out a Christmas 1996 volume and proceeded to load it into the ancient contraption. Magically, I was transported back to the Noche Buena of my youth. Literally meaning “Good Night,” Noche Buena  is Christmas Eve and it is the most important holiday in our family. And in case the magnitude of the holiday had ever skipped my mind, this video trip down Memory Lane was evidence enough.

As we all sat on the sofa, the holiday scene in the home in which I grew up unfolded before us. The ambient noise from the activities shown on the screen permeated the air. Jagged, rough visual cuts glaringly reminded us of some antiquated technology and some poor user skills. It didn’t matter. We were riveted. Riveted to the images of our selves from 27 years ago.

Thirty Years Gone By:

My son’s dad, my then-husband, filled the screen with his humor, silly dance moves, and even a “let’s make bananas dance” bit.”

Even though the scene playing out in front of us was almost three decades old, we knew (and more importantly still know) most of the actors. Friends from elementary and high school and beyond flitted around my family’s home, hugging one another, dancing randomly with my Papi, and performing “The 12 Days of Christmas” with much pomp and ceremony.

My son’s dad, my then-husband, filled the screen with his humor, silly dance moves, and even a “let’s make bananas dance” bit. I watched my 31-year-old self on the screen. Mesmerized by the thickness of her hair and the plumpness of her face, I was transported back in time. It was a visceral experience seeing myself, loved ones (some no longer with us), and friends talking loudly, making jokes, and merry-making. 

Our MTV-Reality Show:

I was completely captivated by the chaotic, MTV-reality show nature of our friends and family, the entire scene, punctuated by loud, pounding piano Christmas music. But for some reason I also found myself glancing out of the corner of my eye at my 20-year-old son. Possibly even more than I, he was also enthralled with the colors and noise emanating from the TV. 

I know not all kids look like their parents. It just so happens that mine is literally one of those obvious Apple/Tree by-products, a perfect mix of his father and me. I can only imagine what it was like for him to see himself so clearly in those video images of his father, nearly 30 years closer to his age than the late-middle-ager that he knows today.

While I was entranced with my wrinkle-free, healthily-plumper self, what was my son feeling? What did he witness? What was his reaction to seeing his look-alike, older, figure come alive on my sister’s TV screen? Unsolicited and rather loudly, Aidan’s exclamation:  “OMG, I would totally make those bananas dance.” solved that mystery!. 

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16 thoughts on “When You See Yourself In The Past And The Future

  1. Amy Colletta says:

    Omg! I love this! I can just imagine sitting there watching this. Amazing and so happy that you have those memories for Aid to watch. ❤️

  2. Rena says:

    We have a few of those and while it’s been years since I’ve looked at them, this makes me want to dust them off & search for the old VCR that I know is here somewhere!

  3. Rosemary Davis says:

    These old photos and videos tie our past to our futures. It’s a blessing to look back especially as we get older and many of our loved one are gone.

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      It is a blessing to be able to look backwards and appreciate our past and those individuals who are no longer with us. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  4. Cat Coluccio says:

    Going through our old tapes is on my “to-do” list! What a lovely experience for you and your son .

  5. Trishy McDishy says:

    I think we all get to this stage. Unfortunately I come from a very dysfunctional family and my son doesn’t have any idea how much he looks and behaves like I did. It’s so lovely that you have these memories to share.

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      So sorry to hear about your son – I think he would get a kick out of seeing himself in you… if he could take the opportunity. Thank you for sharing, it is knowing we are not alone that really makes a difference in this life.

  6. MelAnn says:

    That sounds like a fun time! I wish I had video tape from my childhood or early adult years to share with my children … oh wait! No I don’t! Ha!

  7. Marijke says:

    That must have been an interesting experience for all of you. We digitalised several old film camera films. They show my parents when they were still alive and my sister and I as young teenagers. Very weird. My kids who don’t know my parents love it.

    • Kuel Membership logo large
      Kuel Life says:

      OF course they love it… they get to see themselves inside you and their grandparents. I think that’s such a wonderful gift to give your kids. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Nancy Weiss says:

    I love to look at old photos and videos from the past. I am sure that you enjoyed every minute and you and your son a very happy in that photo.

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