So, spring has been here for a while, and it is wonderful. My toenails are painted, there are now 6 legs in my home being shaved (at least intermittently), shorts are showing up in the wash, and spectating spring sports requires flip flops instead of parkas . Flowers are blooming, the bees are happy, and the sun is shining and everyone is a little happier.
It is all wonderful.
Except for the pollen and the sun.
The pollen means that 3 of us have general sinus issues (and the 4th has her days, but doesn’t believe it). That means 3 Flonase spray bottles every morning, lots of tissues and me having to remind everyone that it is time to take the medicine that will get us through the week without dissolving into a puddle of sinus headache pain and things even less pleasant.
Somehow, this is not making me anyone’s favorite in the morning.
But the sun is the real killer.
Katie and Stagg have his more sun tolerant skin. He contends that it is the Cherokee in his heritage. I say it is luck and simply not very fair. They will turn pink when they’ve been in the sun too long, but almost always, the next day, that pink turns a lovely bronze and the discomfort of the previous day his drowned out by memories of fun in the sun.
Maggie and I have what we call cheap, Irish skin. We tend to think twice about getting the mail at noon in the summer, because that 45 second trip outside could (and has) actually leave us a little pink. A day at the beach almost always means a deep red burn that lasts for days. Our memories of beach trips tend to be filled with aloe and trying to strike a balance between avoiding the sun while not making anyone else feel badly that we are avoiding the very thing people go on vacation to enjoy.
It seems so obvious. We both know that we burn easily, so why wouldn’t we have sunscreen with us at all times? Mostly, we do. It is by the door at home so we can grab it before we go out. I keep some in my car, and Maggie has some in her lacrosse bag just in case we are in too much of a rush when we are leaving.
And, still, we end up burnt. Even when we sunscreen at 30-45 minute intervals, UV rays sneak through and bite us. I managed to get a sock tan line in the winter. This skin of ours is very cheap and Irish.
Maggie didn’t have her sunscreen in her bag last weekend (we took it out for vacation backup) and didn’t want to ask any of the girls around her to borrow theirs. She was already pink at the time. So she burned. Hard.
After the second game, Maggie had a deep red/white jersey border stripes on her neck, shoulders and back. There are very few shirts that can disguise these streaks. Even more conspicuous is the bright line on her forehead at the top of her goggles. It is so attractive.
Just what every almost-14-year-old girl dreams of.
Someday, her fears of skin cancer and hatred of sunburn will kick in and she will be better about putting on sunscreen regularly.
And then she will burn a little bit less.