The story of my relationship with my eight-year-old nephew.

English Level: B1 🇨🇦

Full Transcript

This is why I decided to plant an apple tree.

I was at my mom’s house when she got the call. “oh my goodness! I’m so happy!” She looked at me and said, “your brother is going to have a baby!

I took the phone and congratulated him. “Wow! I can’t believe it, Jona!”

A few days later, as I reflected on my relationship with my youngest brother, I decided to move back to the west of Canada to be closer to him.

I remember walking into the hospital room to see my nephew for the first time. He looked like a tiny wrinkled old man. I approached his crib and experienced what love at first sight feels like. “I will love you with all my heart, little Lennox.”

Newborn babies are pretty boring. They don’t do much except sleep, eat, and poop. I can’t say I consistently changed his diaper, but I did it enough times to say it’s not fun.

After work, I’d hold him in my arms for hours while watching a basketball game. “You’re going to be a Raptors fan” I’d tell him. He’d looked at me with his big eyes and smile.

Eventually, he learned to crawl. After a long and dreadful day at work, I’d come home, he’d crawl towards me and raise his arms in the air so I’d pick him up. “How was your day, little Lennox?” I’d ask him in a childish voice.

All of our friends came together for his first birthday. We ate and celebrated the most beautiful boy. I was on top of the world.

Three weeks later, I flew to Germany for my wedding. What was supposed to be a 4-week euro trip turned into three months and then one year.

“Jenn, you know I want to be in Canada with my family. I miss my nephew!” All I got to see, though, were videos of him learning how to walk and talk. I’d play those videos repeatedly when I got homesick.

Four long years passed before I saw him again.

He obviously didn’t remember me, but we were outside playing and laughing together in no time. “hey uncle, come over here! Uncle, can you buy me ice cream?”

When I returned to Germany, I tried to stay in touch with him. But what five-year-old playing video games wants to talk to an adult on a phone screen? Not my nephew.

We discussed moving to Canada with my wife in 2020, but then the pandemic hit. No flights from Europe to Canada for non-Canadians.

It felt like trying to grab an apple on a tree but not being tall enough. “I almost got it, just a little closer…” But the apple remained beyond reach.

Fast forward to 2022. Seven years have passed since I was active in my nephew’s life. On November 17, I will say goodbye to Germany and hello to a life close to my family again.

I’ve got swimming pools to visit, skating rinks to skate, and parks to play in.

Life is about planting apple trees. You don’t just do it for yourself, but for the next generation. So I’m off to get a shovel. I’ve got a tree to plant.

Vocabulary Words

  1. Wrinkled (adj.): faltig
  2. Approach (verb): sich nähern
  3. Crawl (verb): krabbeln

Phrases to Remember

  1. Love at first sight: to feel an instant connection to another person
  2. On top of the world: happy and elated.
  3. To be homesick: experiencing a longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it.

Question to Consider

How can you/are you contribute(ing) to the next generation?


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