A perfectly imperfect family.
I’ve made over 100 little family films, some of which I’ve shared publicly but the vast majority of which are on our private family YouTube channel. Our children absolutely adore them and it is their response to the latest film that helps fuel the next one. Here’s our latest one and I’ve shared some honest thoughts about the process below…
One surprising outcome that we’ve discovered is that the films we’ve created over the years have helped cement some of our best times in our kids long-term memory banks. We reckon that’s one heck of a dividend. As parents, we give everything to our kids. One of my favourite movie quotes happens to come from my favourite movie, Interstellar:
After you kids came along, your mom, she said something to me I never quite understood. She said, "Now, we're just here to be memories for our kids." I think now I understand what she meant. Once you're a parent, you're the ghost of your children's future.
But it’s hard man. Building positive memories takes work - especially if it’s outside the safe and familiar boundaries of the family home…like…THE WILDERNESS (DA! DA! DA!)
Taking kids into the wilderness is like venturing into a vacuum. All bets are off.
Daily routines? OBLITERATED.
Behaviour expectations? SERIOUSLY SCRUTINISED.
Sweet sibling moments to nasty sibling moments ratio? SKEWED.
So why bother? It’s simple.
Like the films I tactfully edit, we parents can tactfully forget the hard bits.
Our kids seem to do this subconsciously - the wilderness is so mesmerising to their little brains that it mercifully overwrites the forgettable moments because the good times overwhelmingly outshine the rest.
The film you’ve just watched is testament to that because here’s what the film didn’t show…
Leaving home at midday. 3 hours past previous projections. Dad privately cursing this. Again.
Walter contaminating our water supply long-term (supply is welded shut) by poking a big muddy stick down into the water tank. The opening shot to the film is actually Stella investigating its potential retrieval (futile) and Heather approaching the crime scene pre-dramatic announcement from Stella.
Stella declaring our “water tastes like stick”. Well duh.
Walter burying a top-of-the-line head torch at the beach and and his Dad spending the next 3 hours trying to locate its position (found the next morning annoyingly on the outskirts of the expertly defined search quadrant)
Both kids being up all night. Just because. Then thinking 5.30am is a perfectly acceptable time to start a new day despite the trauma inflicted on their parents. Is there anything more futile than a parent trying to convince their child to go back to bed in the morning?
Trying to teach a 4 year old battleships. Don’t. Unless you’re okay with just using one boat each and both players knowing the exact whereabouts of both player’s boat and pretending to be excited for the 4 year old when your boat is sunk even though you technically taught the 4 year old how to cheat on account of their inability to read coordinates.
Trying to play a proper game of cricket with a 4 year old. Don’t. Unless you’re okay with ‘the pitch’ being the entire camping ground because the 4 year old bowls in a different direction each time. As long as it ‘resembles’ cricket, I’m cool with that.
The inevitable “No that’s my stick” wars and Mum morphing into a hostage negotiator.
When every seashell, nice bit of driftwood and cool stone must be hauled back to the campsite. Whatever it takes. This is not negotiable. But really sucks. Dad now desperately hates all beach related inanimate objects.
Dad cursing like an angry Yoda when the kids forget to hold their marshmallow roasting sticks on an upward angle like they’ve been trained (& then Dad’s expression while watching the marshmallow doing a slo-mo slide off the stick and into the fire).
The weka nicking off with Stella’s beanie (to be fair, I tried to film this but was almost castrated by Stella for doing so).
T.S.S. - Twisty Sleeping Bag Syndrome. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about. T.S.S is incurable and torments our children. Nothing can prepare you for this as a parent.
That bottle of wine that never got opened. Again.
So there. Like every family of the world, we’re littered with foibles. We’re a perfectly imperfect family. But through film, we can capture a mere fraction of our children’s lives and immortalise some of the ‘best bits’. Because these are the bits worth remembering. Because in no time at all, these clips will become the ghosts of our children’s future.
Well that’s the idea anyway. Nothing seems to go to plan in this job…