I remembered my father taping the birthday party, not long after he had purchased his first video camera and how he was very much like a little boy with a brand new fancy gadget. Following on from Chilli's birthday party was some footage of Christmas at my parents house in Bright, Vic.
There we all were 8 years ago, only younger and more energetic versions of ourselves: my children - Chilli age 2 years and Jaiden age 9, my mother, father, sister, brother in law, aunt, uncle and niece Lily age 3 (my other niece and nephew had not yet been born). The only person missing it seems was my brother who was probably busy working.
Following on from Christmas, and I was delighted to see yet more family footage, this time at easter the following year. Again, we were all gathered around at my parents house in Bright, still bleary eyed and in our pyjamas; the children squealing and giggling as they hunted for chocolate eggs at some ungodly hour.
Sadly though, again my brother was noticeably missing and in fact I cannot remember the last time that all of us were together, although I think it must have been at my sisters wedding in 2006.
So much has changed since those days when as a family, we would all gather together for Birthdays, Christmas and Easter. It has been four years since my children and I moved interstate and my parents are now separated and no longer share a family home. Watching the footage of those carefree, happy times made me nostalgic for the sanctity of family and for the easiness and comfortability of spending time with loved ones, no matter how irritating certain loved one's might have been. Watching the old footage somehow made all of those intrinsic family dynamics and idiosyncrasies seem more comical than annoying and more precious and memorable than I had envisaged them in the past.
It made me feel sad that my children rarely see their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles and even more sad that the family home has since been sold.
In life we never really know what lies around the next corner. We also never really learn to grasp how truly special some things are until they are more difficult to access or until we are no longer able to access them at all. I would give anything now to have all of my family here, or be able to go home and lay my bags down at mum and dad's for a week of home cooking, endless cups of tea, arguments and laughter.
Nothing would give me more joy than to be able to spend some quality time again with my brother and sister, nieces and nephew, aunt and uncle and to have us all under the one roof again like we once were so often, when the children were still little and before I was wise enough to appreciate how rare and meaningful those experiences could be.
And so it seems we are not getting any younger. My parents are well and truly into their seventies now and my father's health is ailing. Everyone is busy with their own lives and time does not stop moving for anyone. I just hope than we will all have the opportunity to be together again, that somehow the stars will align and life will slow down just enough for us to share the same space again, wherever that may be, at least one more precious time.