My father refused to take us to the beach for vacations when we were younger. We would beg and beg and one day we thought he had given in. Instead of saying absolutely not, he said, “I’ll be right back and then you’ll have your beach vacation.” My sister and I ran to the room we shared to see what clothes we would pack for our long-awaited tip to the beach. We determined we would each need at least one new bathing suit and a sparkling new pair of flip flops. We didn’t dare to get our suitcases out yet. We didn’t want to jinx this new vacation by getting them out too early. Because what if we weren’t leaving immediately?
We planned the sand castles we were going to build and what garden tools we should take to mold our fantasies. The longer our father was gone, the more nervous we became. Where did he go? Did something happen? Was he regretting that he told us we could have our beach vacation? Our excitement waned the longer he was gone. This was taking too long for it to be a real beach vacation. My sister and I quietly went down to the swing in the front yard to sulk. When our father finally got home, we didn’t even look up from the swing. Twenty minutes later, we knew exactly what he meant by a beach vacation. A new sandbox and a hose. We never had so much fun.