February 19 13

A long time ago, when Miss Emily was just a wee little thing, we received a giant video camera as a gift.

Back in 2001—in the technological olden days—when we didn’t have iphones or affordable digital cameras, I would click, click, click my way through a 24-photo roll of film (36 if I was lucky) on my point-and-shoot camera and race to a one-hour photo place to have my precious photos developed as quickly as possible. I would race through the developed pictures to find the one or two possiblymaybe usable shots where my baby girl had her eyes open or where my giant post-pregnancy boobs were not too, too on display (we were a family-friendly household, after all).

I tossed most of the shots into a drawer of photos that would never see the inside of a baby album, but, of course, would never see the inside of a garbage can either. I couldn’t bear to part with these horrible photos. Interesting, isn’t it? I cannot delete those unflattering puppies off of my iphone camera fast enough. But I have a drawer in my home full of blinking shots of my perfect infant. And they have traveled with us from our first apartment, to our first home, to our current home. And will likely travel to our forever home.

But that video camera. Oh, we used that video camera to document absolutely nothing exciting.

And then it got shelved in the technology graveyard in the basement, right alongside our VCR, cd player, and cassette tapes.

We pulled the tapes out this week. Because Miss Emily is having a Bat Mitzvah party in a few weeks, we have been working on a slideshow video of her last 12 years. We carefully chose songs that meant something to her personally, to us as a family, that perfectly encapsulate our lovely pre-teen. We made sure to dig through all the old shots to find the ones of Emily posing with my Grandfather, who is no longer with us, and my Grandmother, who is also no longer with us. We found shots of her dancing, singing, playing, smiling, laughing, crying, yelling. Shots with her friends, family, cousins, aunts, uncles. Emily’s baby books and our flickr account were filled with more usable pictures that we could put into a slideshow. We cut and cut and cut so we don’t bore our guests too much.

It’s a good one, you guys.

I can’t watch it without crying.

(Note to self: waterproof mascara on Bat Mitzvah night.)

But these videos. I haven’t watched any of those videos since they were filmed. I haven’t thought about some of these moments since they happened.




The first time Emily crawled across our tiny 900-square-foot apartment.

The time I tried to put Emily to bed and she just laughed and cackled at me all “Oh, you think I’m going to bed woman!”

The time we brought Joshua home from the hospital.

The time Emily took off Josh’s hat. And then put it back on. And then it took it off again. And then put it back on again. And then took it off again. And then knocked him over. And then he started crying.

The time Emily danced to the Bear in the Big Blue House and Jackson 5 homemade mashup.

The time we tried to take all of the cousins to Sears for a family photo.

The time Emily gave a toddler-ized tour of our old apartment.

That day that Emily got 1,001 splinters on our new wood porch.

The time Emily sat in grass for the first time.

How Emily looked when she woke up from a nap, all bed-headed and disheveled, with a giant smile on her face.

These small moments. They were nothing at the time. Nothing grand, nothing that necessary was film-worthy at the time.

Not film-worthy, really.

Until I watched them this week.

And I am so thankful for these nothing moments.

I feel like parents spend so much time filming the presentations, the graduations, the Hanukkah plays, the BIG moments. But it’s those small moments that I sure am glad I have. Because I guarantee you I will never watch an entire 2-hour kindergarten graduation video ever again in my entire life. But I would sit and watch a clip of my little girl doing nothing but sitting in the grass about eight thousand times.

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  1. I have a video clip of myself as a brand new mom standing over top of and staring at a mewing, crying one-day-old firstborn. I watch it like I’m watching a stranger and I whisper, “Pick her up, pick her up” but I can see the new mama on the screen doesn’t know what to do or doesn’t think she’s supposed to lift a baby that she already fed, burped and changed. And I feel such a swell of affection for her and for the baby and a gush of appreciation for how much we’ve taught one another and how far we’ve come. That bumpy, clumsy clip of film is precious to me.


    ali replied on



    Comment by Louise on February 19, 2013
  2. She is 12! When did that happen?!


    ali replied on

    I cannot even talk about it. Yes. 12.


    Comment by Camels & Chocolate on February 19, 2013
  3. Awww, look at baby Emily!


    Comment by Kristabella on February 19, 2013
  4. It’s so bitter sweet isn’t it?

    Just remember to take the same care now, in taking videos of ‘nothing’, as our almost 12 yr olds are going to go through so many crazy changes in the next few years too.

    Will we cyber people be able to see her video after her bar mitzvah?


    alimartell replied on

    Oh yes! I will be posting it it here after the event!


    Sarah replied on

    Awesome … Btw I did type ‘Bat’ Mitzvah but iPad decided to spell check lol….


    Comment by Sarah on February 19, 2013
  5. Aww, Ali. I so get this. I too cannot look through videos and loomst baby pictures without crying. Thank goodness we have these memories. They’re so previous. A moment in time… xoxo


    Comment by Loukia on February 19, 2013
  6. I caught myself tearing up the other day. I was organizing iphoto and found a little clip of Joshua’s 2 year old birthday party. And right at the end you can see her cutting the cake. Caught me by surprise.


    Comment by Corey Feldman on February 20, 2013
  7. Yep. The “nothing” moments are all I have of my oldest, and I am so thankful for them.

    Wish I could see the video in person. This baby better be awesome.


    Comment by Heather on February 20, 2013
  8. These moments make me so excited to have a family. Every so often, Joe and I will go through his phone and look at pictures and video of Dylan, now 7. My favorite clip is Dylan at Disney World, maybe 4 years old, and Joe is asking him, “Buddy, where are you at? Tell me where you are!” Instead of answering with the grand answer of “I’m at Disney World,” Dylan looks straight into the camera and says, “Daddy, I’m right HERE! Right HERE!” I laugh every time I see it, and I cannot wait to embarrass him at future family events with that clip.


    ali replied on

    Oh that is perfect. PERFECT.


    Comment by Darcey on February 21, 2013

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