If you were to ask most parents what one of their goals for their family was, chances are, that the idea of ‘creating memories’ would pop up. And why not? Who doesn’t want their little people growing up, remembering how awesome their mum and dad were, and all the things they did together?
So I asked myself, ‘what’s necessary for creating lasting family memories?’ And it occured to me that planning a memorable moment, is a lot like planning a story. A lot of the same elements are necessary for both: adventure, disaster, suspense… maybe a little bit of romance. 😉 With that in mind, as well as a very recent ‘creating memories’ family event, I’ve put together a list of ten ingredients you ‘need’, to help you plan the most memorable moment.
Memorable moments, like stories, need a good surprise, so why not start with one? An unexpected day off is a great excuse to throw routine out the window, and escape in the pursuit of adventure.
Which brings us to ingredient number 2.
A good family memory will include some kind of adventure. Seeing as there is at least one fishing mad person in our home, we set off to a beach in the Port Lincoln National Park. Of course not just any old beach will do — this is an adventure after all. We chose one about 50 minutes out of town on a four wheel drive track, not far from prestigious sand dunes, and stunning ocean views.
Most adventures have a (kind-of) set itinerary. ‘We will go here, via here.’ ‘We will do that with this person.’ Our plan was to head out for two hours tops, to a beach that Boatman knows well. He would fish, the kids and I would have fun in the sand dunes, morning tea would be eaten, and then we would go home. Simple, easy, fun.
A lack of foresight.
Yes, you read that right. The most memorable memories (can you use memorable as an adjective for memories?) include a little bit of disaster — it’s necessary for the tension that will come later. What you choose to lack, forget, or ignore, will depend on your individual circumstances, but for us, we chose two things. One, we never packed lunch. And two, I ignored the overwhelming impression I had that the impending disaster would happen.
The ‘What if?’ moment.
The ‘what if’ moment is the point at which you deviate from the plan, just for a moment. It can take many forms including ‘what if we ate these dodgy tacos from the stall on the side of the road?’ Or, ‘What if we stopped to give this hitch-hiker a ride?’
In our case, it was ‘what if this beach has more salmon than the next one?’
The disaster is necessary for both family memories and stories alike; this is what is going to make the event stick in everyone’s mind forever. Getting the car bogged in a spot of especially soft sand that has no intention of ever letting you get out, is a great suggestion for a disaster. Trust me. 🙂
A sense of humour.
This is pivotal for disasters, memories and an entertaining story. If you can’t laugh, you will cry. Enjoy the moment. Even as you are lying on your stomach, digging sand out from underneath the car, and said sand is creeping into every part of your clothing. Enjoy the quality time spent with your husband as you endeavour to solve the problem together because the kids, of course, have run off by this point. Make jokes about the lengths you will both go to get quality alone time on the beach in the middle of the school holidays. Although it’s nowhere near as romantic as one would hope.
Increase the tension.
This is a classic move; if you want to make the day (or story) really stand out, you’ve got to increase the frustration levels of all involved. My suggestion: comment to your partner on the AWESOME blog post you will be able to write about this, and then endure the wrath of a rather annoyed individual, whose pride has been dealt a mortal wound.
You could also suggest that it might be time to call for help. That has more or less the same effect.
Be prepared that he may ‘pay you back’ by having you stand in one particular position with a phone that will drop reception if you attempt to move, sit down, or breathe in any way comfortable, while he finally checks out that possible salmon spot.
Suspense is pivotal before the final conclusion of any grand tale. If you’ve planned everything well, this is when you’re lack of foresight will come into its own (remember how I never packed lunch– there were hungry kids and adults), and a few other dramas will come into play. Ominous looking rain clouds, an increasingly chilly wind, and a recollection that you are only a few hours away from the arrival of the worst cold front to hit the nation in fifteen years, ought to do it.
This is the happy ever after part. The bit when everything sorts itself out, and you’re standing on top of a freezing sand dune, running in place to keep warm, when help finally arrives; emerging from the wilderness in the form of family with a four-wheel drive and a tow rope. It’s also the part where, if you’re super lucky, your husband tells you he has lifted the photo ban on the whole ordeal, and you are free to blog about it. Yay! 🙂
Which leads to bonus ingredient 11.
A little bit of romance.
And I’ll let you work that one out for yourself.
So what’s your keys to good memory making?
Is it the same as good story-telling?
Cam memorable be used as an adjective when referring to memories?
In Boatman’s defence, he has never been bogged to this extent. He’s very capable of getting us out of a rutt, and he’s a good driver. And fisherman. He’s also very attractive 😉