You Have One Chance to Make Memory
March 01, 2020
My mum has a bad habit while traveling. She would encounter something that she really likes, and continues to look for that one thing throughout the entire journey. The last time she and I were country hopping around Europe, we had a fruit beer in Germany. It was excellent, the entire group was loving it, my mum and two aunties. They never had anything like it before.
Mum then kept asking for a fruit beer in the coming days, no matter where we were - Rome, Athens, France.
Mum, how do I tell you? Fruit beer is a German thing. We’ve passed Germany. Can’t go back.
She did the same (to a lesser degree) when we were traveling in India. By luck she had an excellent mushroom soup. And in the upcoming days, where ever we went, she ordered a mushroom soup and got horribly disappointed each and every time. (Because India, why mushroom soup? I mean, what’s the connection?)
What I realised, amplified by my mum in an odd way, that most people are hanging onto good memories and expecting them to be repeatable.
I just came back from traveling to New Zealand with mum, my brother, and his 7 years old son - my nephew.
Feeling like I had to teach them the lesson I learned, I warned them every once in a while, “This is it, we have this one chance. We’re not coming back here again,” as we were driving from Auckland to Wellington, doing something different every day and moving most days.
But probably most of all, I would like to remind myself. Living on the other side of the world has its downside. I don’t get to see them often. This was my first time traveling and spending that much time with my nephew - a whole 10 days without distractions of daily life, other family members and iPad.
One of those days he and I cycled quite far, just the two of us, as for some silly reason we only got to hire 2 bikes, while my mum and brother stayed somewhere at the beginning of the track.
He just learned how to cycle a couple of weeks before the trip. He was very small for a 7 years old, him and his tiny bike. I kept shouting encouragement as we cycled up and down a rather hilly track. It was far enough to get me worried that he would suddenly give up and decide he didn’t want to cycle anymore. Crossing my fingers I didn’t have to carry him back.
But he continued bravely and enthusiastically with his tiny bike, until we found the river that we were looking for. We shouted of victory, we took selfies. I took photos of him proud, the first time he was cycling that far.
A couple of days later, we rode a scooter along Lake Taupo, him perching just in front of me. Again we went pretty far, just the two of us. The weather was amazing, warm but breezy. The lake was so big it felt like the edge of the ocean. That I let him press the gas was probably a bit silly, as like all little boys, they don’t listen to what you tell them to do. So when I said Stop, and he kept pressing gas, we both ended crushing onto the pavement. I grazed my knee rather badly but he was alright thankfully. We walked back rather defeated. He threw me a guilty smile, and I assured him, it’s okay it’s a mistake.
More than my travels with any other people, I was awfully aware, that I had only this one chance to make this particular memory, with this 7 years old boy, who I don’t see very often, whose life I sometimes wish I could be more involved in.
The next time I go back to Australia, he would be another year older, or two years. He will change. He will grow up to be a different boy, as children do. He might grow up forgetting all the time we spent together, and about me. He might become an amazing young man, or he might take a wrong turn, grow bitter and hate all his family. So much can happen, so much is yet to happen.
But at that moment he was sweet and he was happy. Bloody knee and all, I am so glad we had that one chance to make memory and I took it.
At the end we did only have one afternoon for the bikes, one hour in fact. One hour for the scooter. Of course we did a lot of other things together, with mum, and his dad. But the two of us had just one chance for the bikes. And the scooter. One chance.
Authored by Dioni, who half the time wonders how she got here. Writing is her way to make sense of the world.