Color me nostalgic, but it's hard not to be at the moment. In just a little over a week, my younger sister will be getting married. That has gotten me thinking about all kinds of shenanigans we got into while growing up and how, though we have each matured since then, we are still essentially the same people at heart.
Helping push me into the deep end of my memories is the fact that for Mother's Day this year we both went in on a gift together to convert some of our old home movies to DVD — something my mom has been requesting for years. Almost the exact moment she unwrapped her gift, we had the DVD tray open and were taking a trip back in time.
Past music concerts and talent shows flitted across the screen, as well as Christmas gatherings, family reunions and summer vacations — including a particularly memorable one to visit my mom's extended family who remained in California (after my grandparents had moved back to Kansas when she was young).
Through all these vignettes, it was amazing how quickly the events of those days captured on tape (and the unrecorded moments) came back to me, particularly of the trip to California. I remembered spending almost every afternoon in our third cousin's pool, visiting Shasta Dam and having our tour guide play a fictitious tennis match in a particularly reverberant corridor, as well as the scolding our mother got from our great aunt when she admitted she cut the tags off of Beanie Babies (talk about nostalgia).
Among all those clips we saw, it was amazing how much our general personalities were encapsulated in what we watched. My sister, the entertainer, was always putting on a show. I, on the other hand, was more introverted and often off camera talking to a relative or friend.
Of course, there were moments of sibling rivalry caught on tape as well. As we continued to watch, one particular exchange had us rolling with laughter. After chiding her overzealous petting of our family dog, she reacted by pinching my legs. My mom, manning the camera, let it be known that she had captured the act on tape and asked if my sister had anything to say for herself. She had no response, but I did, noting that I would like the video kept as evidence.
We certainly had our squabbles over the years, but we have always supported and included each other. I'm happy that she has found a soon-to-be husband who also supports and includes her and who we are happy to welcome into our family. I have to admit, I let myself get caught up reminiscing recently partly because I foresaw a speech in my future at said wedding and wanted to prepare myself.
Bringing back those memories, both in my mind and watching them on DVD, it was nice to get caught up in a simpler time — when the most pressing concern I may have had was finding time to rehearse a lip-syncing skit to "Secret Agent Man" with classmates after school or plotting out which sweet treats in my Christmas candy haul I would try to hold onto the longest.
Something my mother pointed out, too, was how much she cherished getting to relive memories made with relatives now gone — like my grandparents, great aunts, cousins, etc. And she was right, with this, too, highlighting some of the memories not caught on tape. Watching one of our school Christmas programs, I was reminded of an instance afterwards in which my grandmother (normally fairly stoic) was downright giddy to try on the angel wings that were part of my sister's costume.
Remembering the past and those who have gone before us also has me thinking about the future, both the new life my sister is getting ready to start and the addition it brings to our family. So, while I have been happy to take this trip down memory lane, I'm also excited we all have the chance to continue making new memories together.
-Kelly Breckunitch is a general assignment/county reporter for The Kansan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.