When I was a kid my parents had one of those instamatic cameras with the square Magicube on top. Remember those? It would give you a flashbulb on each side of the cube and would automatically turn when you wound the film to the next frame. I remember many times watching my father take pictures with it and how incredibly bright it was. Each time I looked at the flashcube when it fired, for a short time afterward my eyes would see a shadow of my father standing there with the camera. I get the same sensation today when I look at the sun on an incredibly bright sunny day. You can close your eyes and for a short time still see whatever it was that you were looking at a moment before.
That’s the best analogy I can give to what happens to me all the time when I think about my kids. I don’t remember everything that happened regarding my kids since they were born, but I have a handful of memories that are burned so vividly on my mind.
The other day I watched a video online of a kid on a rollar coaster who was terrified and his father was there trying to convince him about how much fun he was having. I instantly flashed back to when my youngest son and I did the same thing just a few family vacations ago. I will never forget the look of terror on his face when it started, and the look of joy on his face when we came to a stop. Flash.
I watched a commercial the other day (yes, I actually watched a commercial, imagine that.) for some product for babies, and I watched as the camera zoomed in on babies who were sound asleep. Out of nowhere, I got a lump in my throat because I remembered what my boys looked like laying in the crib and the overwhelming feelings of responsiblity, joy, pride, and fear that I felt at that moment. Flash.
This past Christmas I was the first one awake in the house. When my eyes opened I was staring at the ceiling in my room and my mind went back to those Christmas mornings when I got up before the sun was up because my little boys couldn’t stand it anymore and wanted to get to that tree. We don’t get up before the sun anymore on Christmas morning and our kids aren’t nearly as excited as they were when they were little. But I still remember those mornings when I was probably more excited than they were to see them tear into those boxes. Flash.
Being a parent is a funny thing. The range of emotions you go through is constantly changing between joy, fear, anger, happiness, worry, pride, and contentment. But for me, it’s the flashbulbs of memories that mean the most to me. I am sure that over the years as my memories fade that I will forget much more than I will ever remember. But those moments in time are burned into my mind, like those shadows that the Magicube left on my eyes. I don’t miss those days of flashcubes and winding those film cameras. But I smile even now as I think about flashbulbs going off in my mind. What sweet memories indeed.