Sorry I haven’t written in a while. The flu is going around and I was one of the unfortunate souls to be taken down by it. I’ve been wanting to tell this story for over a week.
You can’t tell a child that they’re allergic to the sun and not have them look at you like your head is shaped like a tube sock. It doesn’t make sense to the little one, okay? Take it from me.
I’m allergic to the sun, as my doctor would say. Actually, I can’t tell people that without them looking at me sideways, either. They give me this look like I just tried to convince them that the sky is red. I’m not actually allergic to the sun; I do not know why the doctor told me this as a kid. What another doctor told me as I got older is that I’m allergic to something in the rays of the sun.
Fascinating, right? More people have this problem than you might think.
Yes, I’m fair skinned. That does not help, but it’s more than that. If I go out into the sun without plying myself with sunscreen I burn within a few short minutes. It’s kind of ridiculous. The doctor told me I should take an umbrella with me, even on cloudy days!
Um, no, I think I’m good thanks.
When I was growing up, the best they had for sunscreen was SPF 50. You need a higher amount now if you’re like me, but it was pretty decent back then. And I had a normal childhood as long as I had my sunscreen on.
However, when it came time to pool time, I was not so diligent with my sunscreen. I was four or five when I got my first dose of a strange reality. My little brother and I went swimming with our mom and I burned almost right away–this is not the worst part. The next day I woke up with massive, loonie shaped blisters on each of my shoulders.
I had grown my own shoulder pads!
Okay, that was a terrible joke, but these things were about as big as one of those soap pucks you put into the dishwasher.
These were no picnic, let me tell you. They were extremely sensitive. I would cry if someone looked at them, I swear. (I was young.)
The first time one popped I cried and cried, it was so painful. I thought it was back then. The thing practically took up my entire shoulder! I think anyone would cry.
Every time I got a blister after that, my older cousin would tease me by saying, “Let’s pop it!”
Then he’d get into trouble from my mom, who would tell him that he better not even try it.
What usually happened was I would play inside without a shirt on so my ‘shoulder pads’ were safe. I still had fun.
As children, we traumatize our parents with some of the things we do and go through, and yet, we just want to explore the world and have fun. We’re very resilient. I wish I could say if I got one of those blisters now I could just go about my day and not think about them, but I wouldn’t. I’d be paranoid just like my mom was when I was a little girl.
Note to self: sunscreen is your best friend.
A Clumsy Writer