A couple years ago, in the summer of 2016, my brothers and I were reminiscing while playing video games together in Brooklyn. We had recently received the news from our parents that they’d be moving that summer, which meant they’d be selling the house we all grew up in. In-between the memories we were bouncing back and forth and the rounds of 4-player Halo matches on the tv, an idea was born. You see, coinciding with the impending move, my dad had been working for over a year on, bit by bit, digitizing the entirety of our family’s home video archives (boxes and boxes of VHS tapes in the basement). He had recently texted us a link to a website where all the Carl family members could log on and have access to all our home videos. We decided we should make some sort of compilation video of our favorite memories of childhood as an homage to the house and as a gift to the family. My cheesy self then tacked on the idea of writing a song for it, so I put my controller down, went to my brothers keyboard, and wrote “The Good Years”. Meanwhile, my brother John went to work sifting through all of the home videos and editing the video together, not to mention he then also produced the song (he’s stupid talented). We got as far as we could with the project, but there were two major pieces missing, the beginning and the end. None of us kids were able to be at the house on the actual no-kidding moving day, and we really wanted footage of the empty house, so we texted our Dad and asked him to do a walk-around with his iPhone. We had no idea he was going to add his commentary throughout, and we died when we received it, knowing how special of a moment that was. We had found the beginning. The other piece that was missing was how to wrap the video up, so last Christmas, my brother Ryan shot some footage of Christmas at the new house, and we just loved the multi-generational and new chapter feel of it, so we put that at the end, and everything just felt right. We had found the ending.

For a year, this has been a video kept to ourselves as a family. It wasn’t for anybody else, just us, but after a few close friends watched it, the idea of sharing it was discussed and encouraged. Originally, I thought it’d be strange sharing what seems like such a singular experience, but the general consensus was the opposite, that there was something universal about it. I believe that universal feeling is love, and I count myself so lucky that my childhood was drenched in it, as evident in these home videos. That love is directly a result of my parents. They sacrificed so much to provide a beautiful life for my siblings and I, and I am forever grateful. I realize my story might not be your story, but I hope it can inspire something in all of us of what is possible with love. This video is dedicated to my parents, Jim and Cathy Carl,  in honor of the amazing life they cultivated for all five of their kids and in celebration of their shining example of what marriage, dedication, sacrifice, and unconditional love can mean at its finest.

What has been our family’s little gem, we want now to share in hopes it can transport you inward this holiday season, to your own memories, and inspire you to meditate on all of the good in life and the potential that lies within us all when we love each other.

Thanks for taking the time to read and watch this! If you enjoyed this video and message, please take a second to share it with someone you love, and if you like the original song “The Good Years”, you can download and enjoy it for free here (or below). Given the personal nature of this project, no money is being attempted to be collected on any aspect of it. Instead, please consider spreading some holiday love to those who need it most. Especially this year. Thousands in California are heading into the holiday season helpless due to the devastating wildfires that robbed them of their homes. For some, it was more than homes that were lost, and while most of us can’t imagine the pain and devastation that must entail, we can take a second to send our love and support their way. They may have lost their homes, but as “The Good Years” mentions, it’s so much more than four walls that makes a family. This holiday season, let’s forget the walls and love each other, starting with our West Coast brothers and sisters, by donating to the California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

All my love,

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