Long before Cullen’s birthday was here, I had started thinking about making a video to capture his first year. For some reason it was just one of those things that felt important to me. I started working on it with about a month to go, and while it took a lot of time, it was so much fun to put together.
So much of Cullen’s first year was caught on video. We live far away from all of our family, so I worked really hard to keep everyone current in our lives – constantly filming and uploading. Technology has helped ease the distance a bit. I have so many short videos clogging up my hard drive, but I don’t sit down and watch them too often because they aren’t organized very well.
So about a month ago, I started watching them – all of them.
I used a Windows video editing program to copy each video in and cut it down to just a few seconds – the best parts of each of them. I also tossed in some of my favorite still photos, since not everything was captured on just video. I spent an agonizing amount of time organizing the films, choosing my favorite parts, and pairing it all too music. But each time I started the playback, I knew it was worth it.
The video starts with an intro from me and Casey, a week before Cullen was born. I made it the day before he was due. It felt cheesy at the time, but I knew I’d love looking back on it later (and I was right!). It begins with a giant pregnant belly, and ends with a little boy in his high chair eating his first birthday cake. It turned out exactly as I’d hoped, and I’m so glad I made it! It is 20 minutes long, and I have probably watched it 100 times already. Even so, I still cry every time.
I know remembering to pull out the video camera can feel clumsy and sometimes pull you “out of the moment.” And I definitely think there is a fine line between documenting and obsessing. But I am so glad I was able to capture so much of this year – it’s truly amazing to see him go from a helpless newborn to a laughing toddler – all in just 20 minutes. I didn’t end up playing the video at his party, since I didn’t want to force it on our friends, but I sent it to all of our friends and family back home. Even though they weren’t there to watch him blow out the candles, it was nice to still feel like they were sort of there.
I’m excited that we will have this treasure to look back on for so many years to come!
Read more from Emily on her personal blog Daily Garnish, where she creates healthy vegetarian recipes, recaps her latest running adventures, and chronicles life as a new mom to her son and two crazy dogs. You can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest too!