We rarely went to the beach when I was a child, but one day Mom promised my 4-year-old brother, and 5-year-old me, that if the following day was “beach weather,” we’d pack a picnic lunch and spend the day frolicking in the cool waves and building sand castles.

The prospect of missing a chance to travel to the sand and sea prompted young Brenda E. Smith to build her own at home. Photo courtesy of Brenda E. Smith

The next morning we woke to a hot, sunny, perfect beach day. We immediately donned our bathing suits, then went to wake up Mom. She said she needed more sleep, despite our earnest pleas for her to get up and take us to the beach. We were too young to understand that my mom was suffering with fatigue from recently diagnosed hypothyroidism. We decided to watch the morning cartoons on TV until she woke up, but when the cartoons ended she was still asleep.

Again we tried to rouse her, not wanting to miss out on another minute of our promised beach outing. Again she rebuffed us, giving the same explanation that she needed more sleep. We returned to the living room to ponder our dilemma. There was no sign that Mom was going to get up any time soon. What could we do? Suddenly I had a brilliant idea. If Mom wouldn’t get up and take us to the real beach, we’d just make our own beach. All we needed was some water and sand – voila! My brother heartily endorsed the idea. We decided we’d build our beach in the kitchen.

I dragged a chair over to the kitchen sink and stood on it so I could easily reach the faucet. I turned on the cold water and filled a saucepan that was left in the drying rack overnight. Gleefully, I dumped the water onto the kitchen floor, where it puddled. Already, I could see we’d have to fill the pan many times until our beach’s water would be deep enough to splash around in. When I got tired, my brother eagerly climbed up on the chair to have a turn filling and dumping pans of water. After quite a while we’d managed to accumulate about 2 inches of water on the floor that gently sloped toward the base of the cupboards beneath the sink.

Tiring of adding water we proceeded with the next step of our beach construction project. We took two pans with us out to our backyard sandbox. After filling the pans with sand we trekked back to the kitchen and spread the sand at the edge of our ocean, which had spread to cover about three quarters of the kitchen floor. It was really shaping up!

After three more trips to the sandbox, our beach was perfect. Our delighted giggles while “playing” at our beach finally woke Mom. Standing in the kitchen doorway, horrified by the mess in front of her, she screamed, “What have you two done?”

There was no trip to the beach that day. And I learned that brilliant ideas aren’t always rewarded.

 

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