The Bittersweet Gift of Nostalgia

AUTHOR: | POSTED: January 13, 2016 | COMMENTS: None Yet - Post a Comment

Carolyn Savage

There are certain times of the year that get me feeling nostalgic.

January is one of them.  I don’t know if it’s the lull after the chaos of the holidays or the weather that forces us midwesterners into the confines of a roof with walls.  Actually, now that I think of it it’s probably a combination of both heightened by the exit of grown children who were home and have now returned to their various lives.

I love having our two oldest son’s around.  Even though my grocery bill doubles along with the laundry and clutter, there’s something comforting about having all of our children under one roof.  I guess I worry less when I can account for their whereabouts based on the presence of shoes the size of boats in our mudroom.

I like our full house.  It feels safe.

Drew and Ryan both went back to their respective universities this past Sunday.  Even though I remain excited for them, as I towed both of them through the grocery store in preparation for their departure I felt a bit like I was getting sucker-punched each time they threw something in the cart.  Drew’s list was a little more cumbersome.  He lives in an apartment and needed household supplies and food.  As I schooled him on the best pasta sauces that come from a jar, a teeny tiny part of my brain was confused.

How the hell did we get here.   Aren’t you still four?

October, 1999

October, 1999

Sean hit a home run with his Christmas gift this year.  He gathered all of our home videos and had them converted to DVD.  When we opened them Christmas morning I could hardly wait to pop the popcorn and settle down for a viewing.  Neither could the boys.

It was interesting watching our sons watch the younger versions of themselves.  They weren’t very interested in watching the hours and hours of swim meets, soccer and basketball games we’d recorded.  There was a lot of fast-forwarding through that stuff.  Instead they loved watching themselves as babies.  Hearing their voices and laughing at their first steps or toddler stumbles.  They loved seeing their friends and remembering what each of them was like when they were younger.  Honestly, the best footage was whenever we caught one of them dancing.  I bet if you’d asked them they would’ve never guessed that music was such a large part of their childhood. Watching them watch themselves was awesome.

But for me watching that footage was a mixed bag.  I loved the memories and the laughter but watching them when they were babies

November, 1995

November, 1995

…and four year olds

Ryan was a soccer phenom in preschool.

Ryan was a soccer phenom in preschool.

…and eight year olds…

October, 2006

October, 2006

Oh my goodness.  I’d do anything just to be able to reach into that television screen and snuggle those children.  Just for a minute.   It really did hurt a little bit.   And I’m not one to wallow and idealize.  I’m more of an “onward” type of a girl.

This morning I was telling a friend watching those DVDs.  “It was great, but it wasn’t.  I loved it but at the end I was a teensy bit sad.

Oh honey, that’s what nostalgia is.  It’s bittersweet.  It’s happy memories mixed with the reality that they are…indeed…memories.  Just be happy you preserved them.  There’s gold in that.

My friend is a wise one.

Nostalgia is good because happy memories are golden.


For those of you who heard me talk about this on 101.5 The River Wednesday morning these are the tips I imparted…

  1.  When recording your kids skip the games.  Just watch their sporting events, recitals and performances.  Trust me when I say your kids won’t really care to see more than a glimpse of these events in their lives.
  2. Make a point to sit down with each of your kids at various ages and interview them.  I haphazardly did this with the boys and those recorded memories were priceless.  The answers to my questions; their speech patterns and the silly faces they made while they were thinking were hilarious.  They loved seeing that footage.
  3. For those of you in northwest Ohio, we went to Transfer Me To DVD located on Heatherdowns in Toledo.  There are plenty of online companies where you can ship your tapes for conversion but Sean chose to have them done locally.  I’m glad he did.  I couldn’t imagine shipping those video tapes anywhere.  I liked that we could deliver them ourselves and carry them home ourselves.  No risk of anything getting lost in transit.


Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to buy my Powerball ticket.

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