The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Where Did The Time Go?

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“Where did the time go?” A phrase that every parent must say to themselves at least once. I’ve been saying it over and over again myself while converting some family video tapes for Claudia.

Since Darby and Tyler were born their parents video-taped major events in their lives – Christmas mornings, Easter, vacations at the cottage, school plays and birthdays. With each event the two kids would introduce the video and at times give a closing good-bye. As I’ve been converting each tape I’ve been reliving some of their memories and have also had a chance to see tape recordings I’ve never seen, like their Christmas mornings.

From the beginning I’ve laughed, smiled and even cried as each year progressed and changes in their personalities and characteristics were taking place. Christmas mornings seemed to be the most revealing in what was happening in their lives. From 1990 on the pair would sit at the bottom of the stairs, say their welcoming Christmas message and then run for the tree to check out all of the goodies strewn about the family room. As their Dad video-taped the events, each child would open a gift, giggle with glee stating at times “Oh Wow, look what I got”. They would deliver their remarks to each other, along with their Mom and Dad, put the Christmas wrap in the bag supplied by Mom, and then continue on to the next present. With each gift opened you could see the wonderment and happiness in their eyes and smiles. They were grateful for each and every present received.

As each year progressed I could see subtle differences in each child. With Tyler I could see the changes in his face; that cute “little boy” look was beginning to disappear as he was growing into a young man. With Darby the changes were quite noticeable. Each year she began to grow into a stylish young woman. Her hair styles and clothing reflected the trends she liked, along with physical changes required as your body grows. Eyeglasses appeared, the hair was long and curly, the hair was shoulder length and finally the hair style was short and bobbed. As each year passed her sense of fashion was very evident.  As a young toddler you could see that cute little girl look; as a young girl she was beginning to really show a sense of style and as a young woman her style and finesse was very evident. Despite the fact that I’m 64 and wouldn’t put on a bathing suit come what may, I became quite jealous of the bathing suits Darby wore, from her blue and white striped one-piece to her neon green bikini. Somehow her whole “look” was there – polished, stylish and chic – and it didn’t hurt she had the body to pull it all off. Oh, to be that young again!!

One video, in particular, reflected a huge change in their lives. Their Dad had left their Mom earlier that year and when I began to convert the yearly “Christmas Morning” tape I began to cry. Their introduction was done with some hesitation but they carried on as any child is anxious to open presents from anyone, especially Santa. As Mom took over the video-taping duties, Darby and Tyler opened their gifts but somehow this year wasn’t as bouncy as years past. Every now and again as Darby sat on the floor with legs crossed, she would look up at  her Mom. I couldn’t help but wonder if she was checking to make sure her Mom was okay. It was very evident that the first Christmas without their father and husband was in the back of their minds. Thankfully the early morning sombreness turned into lots of laughs with Aunt Michele (who stayed the night) as Darby took over the video-taping and tried as she might to arouse Michele from under her comforter while lazing about  on the sofa. It was as if each of the family began to realize that Christmas morning was what you made of it, and to their credit they did a fabulous job despite the circumstances.

I continued on converting each of the tapes and with some I had to stop whatever I was doing in the other computer window. My eyes were drawn to the fun and frivolity at the cottages. I was watching what I had missed for not being their now that I was married or on dialysis. I watched as my niece and nephew were now that many years older and their playful activities at the cottage were spent with their American friends staying in another cottage. The teenage years had begun, with the girls painting their nails at the picnic table and the boys still romping about on the floats, canoes, paddle bikes and any other water sport they could find. Mom did a valiant effort in her taping of the kids on vacation and even Darby and Tyler began to learn the tricks of the trade and did their part, too.

As I begin to convert the last couple of tapes, I’ve come to the realization that these two great kids are very lucky to have such memories, even if some of the tapes were a bit flawed in the playback – one school play is blurred in spots and one birthday had the tracking all off. Hopefully I can fix this in editing, but even if I can’t, a good majority of the tapes reflect some pretty happy times and memories and the fact that Darby and Tyler will always be there for each other no matter where they are in the world. May they continue despite whatever else life may throw their way. No Mom nor Dad can predict what the future might bring for their children, but from what I’ve seen it’s apparent to me that Darby and Tyler will make out okay no matter what.

Just as an added note – I’ve been using the Elgato Video Capture device and am loving it. It’s easy to use and has the flexibility I need for capturing only the parts of the video I want. For converting the recordings from Apples format to a Windows format and for viewing on television, I’ll be using a free program I downloaded from the Internet. When I get to that stage I’ll see how it goes. At least it was a free download!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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