How Do You Measure a Year?

If you’re like me, you probably feel like your grandchild is growing up faster than the speed of light. My first-born grandchild turned 20 in April and I still have vivid memories of witnessing her birth. I recently watched a documentary that captures this lightning-speed growth of a child and it touched me so deeply that I want to recommend it to everyone.

Jay Rosenblatt is a San Francisco documentary filmmaker who captures his daughter Ella’s entire childhood, from precocious toddler to college-bound senior in a mere 28 minutes. This Oscar-nominated film, “How Do You Measure a Year?” is now streaming on HBO Max. It’s so precious I’ve already watched it with my two oldest grandchildren, aged 20 and 16 years. We were all mesmerized by the natural charm and ease Ella exudes in front of the camera.

Every year on Ella’s birthday, from the ages of 2 to 18, Rosenblatt recorded his daughter sitting on the same couch answering the same set of questions. The transition from year to year is like flipping through one of those Flicker books that appears animated as you thumb through the pages.

Though the film is brief, it reveals the gradual blooming of a full-fledged human being. It’s a process any parent or grandparent can relate to, which is why Rosenblatt bet on Ella’s maturation as a universal story of a girl growing up.

I encourage you to watch this documentary for the pure joy of witnessing a beautiful father-daughter relationship. If you can enlist your grandchildren to watch it with you, you’ll have a lot to discuss together. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to create your own movie chronicling the life of your grandchild.

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