Hakuna Matata Means “No Worries As Long As You Get Those Old VHS Tapes Transferred To Digital Files”.

Jim and I have hours and hours (and hours) (and hours) of VHS tape recordings of the boys from the time D was born until J was about four. That’s about when our old video camera, which was about the size of the ones they use for reporters in the field these days, conked out. We never replaced it.

The first two or three tapes are full of coverage that consists only of newborn D just laying there while I talk to him: really exciting stuff. The last time we had a VCR and I was able to watch, about five years ago, I found it extremely obnoxious and annoying to listen to myself (ugh, I mean REALLY) but I did my best to reframe it in my mind and think about how sweet those days were, when it was just me and him spending hours just staring at each other while I cooed and told him how much I loved him.

Jim and I have talked for years about getting those VHS tapes transferred to DVD before they disintegrate, and I keep forgetting to get the process started. It’s not something we will be able to do all at once because of the expense, but the plan was that we would just get started with a couple and make a habit out of bringing new tapes in when picking up the last batch.

Then I forgot about it. The tapes still sit in my family room closet today, unwatched and untouched.

Fast forward to yesterday.

Yesterday I decided to make a new Spotify playlist containing songs that make me smile. I grabbed “Hakuna Matata” because it truly is one of the happiest songs ever made and holds many great memories for me. When I played it, it took me back about nineteen years. “The Lion King” was released in 1994 and was one of the first movies we ever took D to see. It became an instant favorite around our house.

When it came out on VHS, we watched it over and over (and over), especially because J was born in February of that year and, well, “The Lion King” (which was released in March) saved my life when it came to keeping my toddler occupied some of the time while I cared for his newborn brother. D ended up knowing most, if not all, of the movie by heart and could perform scenes by request. The theme of his third birthday party was, of course, “The Lion King”.

Lion King Cake

He was obsessed. It was all “Lion King” all the time, all up in here.

Lion King hat

Lion King toys

I know that I have video coverage of my adorable toddler singing “Hakuna Matata” in that toddler way of not really singing the exact lyrics but more his own interpretation. There are really few things cuter than a three year old dramatically singing,

“Why, when he was a young warthog
When I was a young warthogggggggg!!!
Vay nice (Very nice), anks (thanks).

He found his aroma lacked a certain appeal
He could clear the Savannah after every meal
I’m a sensitive soulllllll, though I seem thick-skinned
And it hoit (hurt) that my friends never stood downwind…”

I know that I have video coverage of him imitating Scar as he screamed for Sarabi, only he yelled, “Saaw-abiii!”

I know that I have video coverage of him singing “The Circle of Life”, only he yelled, “In the cirrrcle in the niiiiight….”, much like he changed the “Kings and Vagabonds” of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” to “kings and bag o’ balls”.

I know that I have video coverage of him sitting in front of our CD player as if it were a television set, “watching” it while singing along with the soundtrack we purchased for him.

“What are you doing, D?”
“I’m ‘watching’ Lion King.”

I need to be able to preserve this stuff and access these treasures whenever I want to, before it’s too late.

That’s why, right after my workout today, I’m getting the process going. There’s no time like the present.

Just another example of how music makes you move.


  • Liz

    Perhaps our favorite Disney movie of all time (Holly had a purple Lion King dress with matching socks which was then handed down to her sisters) and tons of VHS tapes of our kids, too. Great, now the kids are all like “Why are you crying, is Melisa alright?!?” because they also like you, way better than me 😉

    • Melisa Wells

      Holly had a Lion King dress? Hmm. Sounds like she and D would get along REALLY well! 😉

      P.S. I love your kids. But you knew that.

  • Colleen

    I love when you tell stories about your boys back when they were my boys’ age. I know your sons grew up to be lovely men, and you successfully made it through all of these childhood-filled-with-Disney-songs periods that can be so stressful. Hope you get all those old tapes converted so that you can re-write a post like this once your grandkids are going through similar stages and you’ve looked at those old videos again. 🙂 (You know, in many MANY years!)

    • Melisa Wells

      Thanks, Colleen! I took four tapes in yesterday so I’m on the way: shew!

      Also, I was going to say “don’t rush the grandkids” thing, but my mom said it to you for me in her comment! haha!

  • Sylvia Joy

    Colleen don’t rush the grandkids. Our grandsons are to young for children yet and that would mean that I would have great grand children.

    Melisa — that is why we loved Sesame Street when you where growing up and I think why you were in a special class for third grade reading when you were in kindergarten . That was at Dogwood School. We also like to read to you a lot and you liked to be read too.
    Grandma W

  • Shannon

    I wish we had taken more video when our kids were little. We have some, but not much. Lion King is my favorite Disney movie, too. D has good taste.
    And now I have this image in my mind of my boy flying across the room in his Buzz Lightyear costume belly flopping onto the floor as he yells, “to infinity and beyond!” Thanks for the reminder.