I’m not one for jumping out in front of a video camera. Not if I know it’s on. I’d much rather be the one holding it. Something about that playback button…Does my voice really sound like that? Is that what my hair really looks like from the back? Yikes! How do my friends even stand me? I’d simply rather go on living not thinking about the answers to those questions.

This is why I’m so hesitant to bust out the video cam on the computer or chat via “Face Time” instead of over a normal phone, voices only, the way nature intended.

What if someone Face Time calls me and I’ve yet to shower? Worse, what if I’m just out of the shower? Or even worse, just woke up and still have zit cream on my chin?! I knew this whole video phone thing was a bad idea when I saw it on “The Jetsons” thirty years ago. Who looks perfectly coiffed and manicured at every possible moment with a very clean house as her backdrop besides Jane Jetson? And she had Rosie!

But today we found our old Flip video camera. It was buried in a drawer, stashed in frustration when I couldn’t figure out how to recharge it. But today it reemerged and it’s treasure trove of clips finally made it’s debut onto my screen. (Have I mentioned how much I love my new computer?)

The kids and I gathered around the monitor after dinner tonight, absolutely transfixed by the utter cuteness of their yesteryears. One by one, each of us sighed,

“Were we ever that young?”

The footage was only three years old and I know three years doesn’t sound like a long time, but childhood years are like dog years. Infant to three year old is a lifetime. Seven to ten year old- eons.

There is something almost tangible about watching children on film. Their voices, their movements, mannerisms, looks and glances…I felt as though I could reach through the screen, reach back through time and touch them! Pinch those cheeks just one more time!

How had I forgotten my preschooler used to be was a baby? How had I forgotten my big boy used to not be able to pronounce his R’s correctly in that adorable way? I do remember thinking that those days would last forever, but apparently, they didn’t. The scary thing is, I still often think, “These days will last forever,” and now I know they won’t.

My husband’s mother never liked having her picture taken, let alone allow a camcorder to pan in her direction either. There is not a single photograph of her in her wedding dress because she felt too self conscious about it. She was beautiful. She sang in choirs, starred in plays, but to my knowledge there is not a single video or a Super 8 of any of it.

She passed away this week, and oh, what we would give to be able to gather around a screen and see her moving, laughing, singing and acting, just one more time. Reach through the screen, reach through time, and touch her again.

Then be able to hit Rewind.

My goal is overcome my pride and make more cameos in our home videos for posterity’s sake. Because as much fun as it was to watch my little ones from just three years ago, I think they will get a hoot out of seeing my husband and I when it’s not three, but thirty years ago. Fifty? More? And I’m sure they’ll each sigh,

“Were they ever that young?”

Read more by Margaret Anderson at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com