November 23, 2011

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Watch Old Home Videos

With all the family bonding going on this month, it's about time to break out those old VHS tapes or pull out some old photos and take a walk down memory lane. Not only is this a great bonding experience, but it's a fun way to brainstorm future family activities.

Welcome Home

I look around my living room. There are popcorn bowls littering every surface and blankets piled ready for the children to snuggle up in. Yep, you guessed it- family movie night. “What do you want to watch?” I question over the rambunctious laughter and raucous scrambling of all three children trying to get their favorite place on the sofa.
I know the answer though, it is always the same. “We want to watch the day we came.”

For my middle child, that day was almost eleven years ago. How interesting it is to watch that day replayed. A child comes off the airplane and runs down the hallway. He has sat for over eight hours, hasn’t had anything to eat and is only 23 months. Now, two little boys dance across the screen- excited from the change that they sense if coming. They chase each other down the long corridor. The oldest, 27 months, is trying to hug the new arrival. The new arrival…? Not interested. The scene breaks to the two boys sleeping in matching car seats in the back of the van. You can hear my husband talking about how quiet it is in the van now and how much he is enjoying that silence. I am in the other car, riding with the caseworker. She is coming to the house to ensure that my new son is comfortable and able to handle his new family.

The video bypasses the rest of the ride home and focuses on the balloon covered lawn and huge signs proclaiming, Welcome Home. The younger of the two is now on tape running across the lawn, pulling the dog’s tail and picking bugs out of the dirt. The oldest is wrapped around his father’s leg. He doesn’t know what to make of this new whirlwind that has taken over his world.

That ‘whirlwind’ came with a stove sized box full of toys. The video shows that box full, the box dumped out and then two little boys fighting over one toy. The youngest can be seen with his hand on the kitchen table grabbing food off every plate. The oldest is behind the chair in the living room playing with the coveted toy. You can hear my husband talking in the background. As he is taping the oldest in his hiding place he says, “Here’s Tommy hiding from Nicky, playing with Nicky’s toys.”

Slowly, the tape fades out. Reality comes back. Those two little boys are now almost 14 years old. They still argue over things but very few of them are toys. Yet, they go back to that day often. They want to talk about it. They want to watch it repeatedly. Why? It gives them a base. It helps them remember. They have had almost eleven years of memories since that one day but it is the one that they want to replay.

One of the greatest ways to reinforce familial bonds is to pull out those old family videos, blow the dust off them and grab the popcorn. The conversation that comes from watching the movies is priceless. Doubts and misunderstandings can be cleared up by simply investing the time in viewing those memories again and again. The videos signify important times- times worth remembering.

In celebration of Adoption Awareness Month (November,) pull out those old family videos. The children will love watching themselves. They will talk about the day that they came. They will talk about how they felt. They will see how their siblings acted and reacted. They will hear how their siblings felt. I cannot think of a better way to spend an evening.


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