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My grandmother loves the beach, so usually every year my grandparents travel to the outer banks for a week during the summer months. There is always an open invitation for my family to come down and spend that week at the beach. The only problem—my dad hates the beach. For several years my entire family, including my dad, traveled to north carolina with my grandparents. My dad was such a good sport. Oh sure, he complained incessantly about how hot it was, how crowded it was, or how, once again, he had sand in places he didn’t want, but he endured. When my sisters and i entered the teenage years, my dad decided he had enough of the sand and decided that if we wanted to go to the beach with my grandparents we were old enough that he didn’t have to endure the horrors of the beach himself.

One particular summer just my mom and i went to the beach with my grandparents, two aunts and uncles, and four cousins. It had been a few years since we had made the annual trip. Both my mom and i love to read, especially romance novels, so we packed a handful of books to read on the beach. My idea of a great vacation revolves around parking myself in a beach chair under an umbrella reading a great Nora Roberts book. The most important part of my vacation is that i don’t have a schedule. It is vital that i not be required to be at any location at a designated time. I want to wake up when i want, read when i want, and sleep when i want. Needless to say, my cousins had other ideas of what a vacation should include; it didn’t involve a beach chair, umbrella, or a romance novel. They wanted to build sandcastles and play volleyball at the resort gym all on a specific timetable. They nagged me to be at the gym at a certain time or build my sandcastle a certain way. It was a long week.

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