I have no idea why I had such an obsession with the beach when I was younger. I was actually terrified of water and wasn’t even able to swim. Yet I was begging mum to take me to the beach on a daily basis.
Before my step dad came along, my mum was busy raising me on her own, whilst also holding a full time job. She often worked six or seven days a week. On the off chance that she managed to get a day off work, she was busy cleaning the house, catching up on washing and doing her best to relax as much as possible. Not an easy task with an energetic child running around, screaming for attention at every given moment.
I, of course had no concept of chores, work, or even being tired. I could never work out why mum made it so difficult to go to the beach, just for one day.
“Can’t we go to the beach when you finish work tomorrow?”
“No, because I have to come home and cook dinner and you need to do your homework.”
“I can do my homework before you get home and we can eat out.” Gee, why did she have to make everything so complicated?
To add to the dilemma, my mum had a bad ankle as a result of an accident when she was younger, so walking on the sand at the beach was actually painful for her. To this day I have never been able to walk along the beach with my mum. When she tried explaining this to me when I was younger, I was sure she was simply making excuses and dismissed it. It was irrelevant to me anyway, as I could see no problem in her waiting in the car whilst I went to the beach on my own. The ignorance of danger was certainly strong with me.
I have no idea how long I pestered my mum for, but eventually I was fed up with waiting. One Sunday, a rare weekend when mum had a day off work, I badgered her all day for us to go to the beach.
I remember she had a headache that day and between trying to clean the house, do the washing and organise a babysitter for me for the following two weeks, as it was the beginning of the school holidays, she was curled up in bed, trying to sleep away the pain. Knowing what a headache is now, I really sympathise with all that my mother endured.
Toward the end of the day, as the sun slowly disappeared, I came to terms with the fact that it would be yet another day that I wouldn’t get to go to see the water. I stayed in bed long enough to be sure that mum was sleeping (usually once the sound of her snoring reached my bedroom, you could be sure that nothing was going to wake her).
I snuck out and got dressed into my bathers, then went into the back yard to collect my sand castle kit. Our back yard was nothing but lawn from fence line to fence line, with three large trees. There was a trampoline and a few toys, but the yard was pretty much solely occupied by my dog, Shelley.
So, with my plastic shovel and bucket, I headed inside and worked at unlatching the front door. It took me hours to slowly drag the kitchen chair from the dining room at the back of the house, past mums’ bedroom door and down the hallway to the front door. I wasn’t strong enough to lift the chair, so I had to work slowly in order to be sure not to wake mum.
I eventually got the door opened, then marched outside with my beach supplies. By the time mum woke the next morning, I had managed to put everything back in place, so she would have no idea that I had been out the front. Though it was quite obvious when she got to the toilet.
First thing on a Monday morning, first day of the school holidays. Mum crawled out of bed, still recovering from her headache and made her way to the toilet. She opened the toilet door and stopped.
I sat on the toilet in my bathers, my beach towel was on the floor and my little bucket and shovel still in my hand. I had spent the whole night digging up mums front garden and carting little buckets of sand into the toilet, until I was satisfied that I had built my own beach. I’d filled the toilet to the brim with sand.
“Look mum, I made a beach.” I smiled triumphantly. Sand was all over the floor, cascading over the sides of the toilet, which had clogged, since I had been flushing it whilst it was full of sand.
Mum didn’t speak, she didn’t smile, she didn’t yell. She simply followed the trail of sand to the front door, opened it and walked over to next door in her pyjamas. I waited at the front door for a moment, wondering what was going on and heard mum talking to the neighbours.
“Hey, sorry to annoy you so early, but Kylie has killed our toilet and I am busting, I was wondering if I could borrow the loo.”
I have no idea what happened that day. Mum didn’t come home. My babysitter came and collected me, which was unusual, because mum used to drop me off. I ended up staying at the babysitters for a couple of nights after that.
I assume that mum had called in sick to work and called the babysitter to come and get me. Perhaps that was one of the times that got me close to being adopted out. I don’t remember getting into trouble for it, but from what mum tells me, I got into loads of trouble, though I think mum not coming home was the biggest punishment. I thought she had left me and all because I wanted to go to the damn beach.
I do remember that I never owned a plastic bucket and shovel again and I have no idea what happened to the ones I left in the toilet.
To be honest, I thought I was doing mum a favour with this one. She had made it quite obvious to me that she was not going to be taking me to the beach, so to save her the hassles of having to listen to me constantly whining about it, I decided to make my own beach at home that I would be able to visit whenever I wanted. The best part is that my beach wouldn’t hurt mum’s ankle. Not to mention the fact that I wouldn’t have to share it or even have to worry about wearing that horrible sunscreen. Really, when you think about it, this was quite a clever, well thought out solution (for a four-year-old).