I thought I had picked the perfect gift for my sister's twelfth birthday. Since her birthday was May 13th, I bought her a cute little two piece bathing suit with an adorable skirt cover-up to match.
Although we live near the beach, the rule in our household was that we could not go to the beach without
1) permission from a parent
2) having someone with us (sort of a buddy system which was a firmly established system in our household).
Usually there wasn't a problem getting a buddy since there were 10 of us in our family, four boys and six girls. Mom had given permission for the beach outing with the usual part two- take a buddy.
My sister had asked me and I promised her that I'd be her buddy. Just as we finished putting sunscreen on and gathering up our necessities eg. beach bag with book to read, towel to sit on etc., the phone rang. I grabbed the phone and it was my best friend on the other end with some juicy news. We chattered obviously much longer than I realized and when I got off the phone, I couldn't locate my sister. I ran to the beach and found her towel and beach bag along with her flip-flops near the water's edge. No sight of her in immediate vicinity though. I called her name but got no answer. She was not a strong swimmer and although I alerted family members, we could not find her. We waited all night along with neighbors and friends. The next day her body turned up as we all stood by the shore's edge.
For the rest of my life, I would regret taking that phone call but even more, I regretted ever buying her that bathing suit.