Meet Jeremy. Jeremy was once a restaurant manager and certified sommelier with dreams of raising money to buy a Winery in order to fund a dog and cat rescue. He was a busy guy. Now, he’s a stay-at-home dad who is using 1 Second Everyday to document every day of his daughter Clarissa’s life – a project he intends to continue until she turns 18. I spoke with Jeremy recently after seeing a video compilation he posted in 1SE’s Discord server.
In September of 2019, Jeremy and his wife Joyce discovered that she was pregnant – a moment that Jeremy captured to mark the start of his chronicle of Clarissa’s life. At first, he just captured big moments as they prepared for the birth of their first child, like sonograms, painting the nursery, and assembling the crib. Then, on May 20, 2020, Clarissa was born. “I decided very early on that I wanted to make it an eighteen-year project,” he says.
THE CLARISSA CHRONICLE
“I have this weird fascination with trying to capture her first memory in one of the clips,” Jeremy explains. “People ask you, ‘what’s your earliest memory?’ I have no idea! I have a blur of things that I remember, but I have no idea what the chronological order of those things was. But if she can look at something and go ‘I remember that!’ then I can tell her, “this was on May 6, 2022, and this is what we were doing. We did this, this, and this.”
1 Second Everyday has helped Jeremy to chronicle his own life as well, though. “Before Clarissa, my camera roll was all wine and travel,” he says. “But after May 20, 2020, it’s just baby central.” But he also appreciates that the app allows him to simplify and distill his days into a consumable form. “I love that it creates a platform to have a focused collection of pictures and videos,” he says. Kids today have more pictures of the first year of their lives than most kids twenty years ago had of their entire childhoods. Some days I have thirty pictures of Clarissa, and it’s like, ‘this is a lot.’”
Before Clarissa was born, Jeremy and Joyce intended to both keep working, even with an infant at home. Joyce worked during the day and Jeremy worked at the restaurant at night. It would be stressful, but lots of couples make it work somehow. But then the pandemic happened and resolved the issue. Jeremy switched gears and worked remotely for six months with a couple of startups, but it became apparent as soon as Clarissa started crawling that working from home with an infant was not an ideal situation.
“People say, ‘if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,’ but when you work from home, you’re essentially always working,” he says. So he quit the startups and became a full-time dad. In spite of periodic bouts of cabin fever, he says, it has been a great experience. “I believe everything happens for a reason,” he says. “The fact that I became a stay at home dad when I was so wrapped up in everything else – Clarissa has forced me to stop all of that and live my life as a dad and see the world through a toddler’s eyes, and it’s so much fun!”
Jeremy plans to take the idea of seeing through his daughter’s eyes one step further – at some point, when she’s old enough to have her own phone, he’ll put her in charge of the project herself. “There’ll be a transition from daddy’s perception to her perspective,” he says.
Rather than simply recording every day in the app, Jeremy is making use of 1SE’s journal function to make notes about each day. “I try to make sure to select my clip for each day and write the journal entry within a couple of days,” he says when I ask him about how often he actually opens 1SE. “Especially on the days when I’ve got maybe 20 different videos of Clarissa, if I wait too long, then I have to go back and think ‘now which one of these did I want to use?’”
“So far, I have not missed a day with Clarissa,” Jeremy says of his 1SE project. “It’s been close a couple of times, where it’s eleven o’clock at night and all of a sudden I’m like, ‘Oh shoot! I forgot to catch a clip!’ So I’ll pick up her baby monitor and get a clip of her sleeping in the baby monitor – it’s a way to keep the continuity, at least.” He laughs, “I’m prepared for the day that I miss taking a video or at least a picture. I’ve accepted that it’s going to happen, but I’m just going to go as long as I can!”
There are two concerns Jeremy struggles with in keeping this chronicle. The first is the moment when Clarissa is old enough to understand what he’s really doing. “When she’s old enough to be like, ‘No, dad. Don’t take my video. I’m not in the mood.’” The other concern is that at some point she’ll worry that her privacy has been compromised by the project. But Jeremy says, “I know that even if those moments come, eventually she’s going to love that she gets to look back on her life.”
WHAT TO SHARE, AND WHERE, AND WITH WHOM?
On the topic of privacy, Jeremy suggests that there’s a delicate balance when it comes to recording and sharing your child’s life. He keeps most of his social media accounts at least semi-private, and thinks carefully about what he shares and where.
“You kind of feel like a voyeur when you’re watching other people’s moments,” he says. “But it’s also so intriguing and interesting to see the world through other people’s eyes. In a perfect world, I’d love to put these videos up on billboards and show everyone the life of my daughter in one-second clips – it’s so exciting!”
But the reality that there are people out there who will take advantage of other people’s content for any number of reasons means that it’s always good to be cautious. “We’re as publicly private as we’ve ever been, and it’ll only get worse.” He says. “You can fight that or join it. I have a friend who won’t allow her children to be photographed, but it’s like – you take your kids out in public, and their pictures are going to get collected somewhere. It’s the good and the bad with all technology.”
Jeremy and Joyce are expecting their second child in July, and he plans to document the lives of both of his kids – in fact, journal number two has already begun – once again it begins on the day that the couple learned they’d be having a baby. “I’m going to do my best not to use the same clip on both projects,” Jeremy says, “especially when they’re younger. I don’t want to create a kind of competitive dynamic.” Then he laughs, “But eventually, there’ll be a point where it’s just like, ‘this was the best moment in the day, and they’re both in it, so they’re both getting it.”
So how long will Jeremy remain in full-time dad mode? “I’m giving it five years from when he’s born in July,” Jeremy says. “So when they’re both in school I’ll start looking again. In the meantime, I’m a constant learner, so I’ve been searching for something to study up on – something in another industry.”
Jeremy has a 1SE Freestyle side-project with Clarissa going on right now as well. “I had this idea that I wanted to do a full month of her journal on the swings,” he says. But he quickly realized that that would cut out a lot of other important moments in the course of that month. That idea became its own project, and it’s adorable. The plan is to keep getting swinging footage of Clarissa right up until she’s old enough to jump out of the swings on her own, and then call that project a wrap.
I point out to Jeremy that he still has eighteen years to go on these projects, and that eighteen years ago, smartphones didn’t even exist. He laughs, “Right? What’s the next generation of pictures? I think once VR becomes more normal and everyone has a VR headset, you’ll see a lot more 360-degree pictures around.” But beyond that, Jeremy is pretty sure that by the time his kids graduate from high school, they’ll be capturing their own 1 Second Everyday videos in hologram. “Who knows what that’ll look like?” he muses.
Until then, Jeremy’s thankful for the chance to watch his kids grow up and be there for them while they’re young – an increasingly rare opportunity these days, and one he intends to make the most of.