by Kaleigh Waguespack, staff reporter

Waves hurtle over my sisters as they laugh and splash in the surf, but the only thing I feel washing over me is a wave of dread. The desire to go and play with my family is constantly distracting me, yet there is only one other thought keeping me from what I long to do.

I force my eyes away from the beach and back down to my book, hoping that the pages would burn in the scorching hot sun a easily as my skin. An hour later, I’ve only gotten through one page, and my hand feels heavy and sore from holding up the book. My mind’s tired too. It’s hard not to get distracted by the sight of my family enjoying their vacation, but I know that I have to keep reading or else my pile of summer assignments would leave me behind at the beginning of school.

As the beautiful, yet somewhat dull day dragged on, my mom asked me several times to take a break and spend some time with the family, however I regretfully rejected her kind invitation with a strong no. My brain was overruled by a tiny voice telling me that reading this book was too important and that I could spend time with them later. I reached over to pick up my highlighter that I had accidentally dropped, but my hands only closed on the grainy, but soft sand. I wondered in confusion where my bright neon marker, that I had just had five minutes ago, could have gone. Looking up in disbelief, I see my older sister, Karly, jumping over each wave the ocean produces with a look of conviction and a tiny speck of brightly lit neon reflecting off of the blistering hot sun. She waves the highlighter in the air with a polite invitation to go and get it from her.

The heavy book that once confined me to the chair I sat in was now weightless as I threw it into the chair behind me. My walk turned into a jog and then a run as I threw myself into the crystal clear ocean, forgetting each assignment as I immersed myself into each wave. When I finally reached Karly, I looked at her in disbelief as she turned away from me and deliberately threw my highlighter deeper into the ocean in hopes that I would never be able to find it again.

This highlighter had carried me through many exams and assignments over the past three years. It was my favorite. But Karly only had one thing in mind when she shockingly decided to send my highlighter to a new home. If I didn’t have a marker to highlight important parts of my book, then I wouldn’t be so confined to one chair and to the one thing that kept me in that chair. Before I was able to drag myself back to shore, Karly was splashing me in every direction and we were soon joined by my whole family.

Reading that book was important to me in the moment, but I never knew how important it was to spend time with my family until I was forced to be in a situation where it was evident. Losing a highlighter in the process wasn’t so bad when I took a moment to consider the even closer relationships I was building with my family instead of worrying about the endless assignments still ahead of me.

Sometimes I find myself still worrying about the mountains of homework left, but I won’t let that get in the way of spending time with my family. Before I know it I will be out of school, with no homework, and a job of my own that keeps me away from home. These are the last few years where I’ll get a lot of chances to spend time with my family. And no book or assignment is more important than that.