Today is my last day of babysitting – my, how time has flown! I’ll be sad to leave my little charges here in Tennessee – despite the hours of carpool, that one pee incident, and the number of times a day that 4-year-old E tells me that she hates me and I’m never allowed back – I’ve grown attached to them. We spent all morning yesterday at the pool, and are headed to the library this morning! Can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to these girls.
So I wanted to address a more serious topic over here today – sun safety. One of the biggest things my mother taught me growing up was to always wear sunscreen. For years and years, I dutifully applied sunscreen under her watchful eye…but I never really understood the significance. I did it just to make her happy.
But as I chased two girls around the pool deck yesterday with a bottle of sunscreen and a tube of facestick, I realized the significance of her teaching. I finally got it. I wanted to protect those girls, to protect them from the sun’s harmful rays – those same rays that I spent years basking under, with nary a thought as to what that coveted suntan really meant.
Now, let’s clear something up – I am no sun goddess. In fact, my family often refers to me as lily white. So I knew that I would never be as tan as J.Lo, nor did I want to be. But I did want that “healthy glow” that I associated with a day spent at the pool or at the beach!
Little did I know that even a simple suntan means sun damage. Yep, you read that right – you don’t have to get burned to get sun damage. Any change in your skin color means that you have been affected by the sun’s rays!
After I read fellow blogger Alyssa‘s harrowing account of her bout with skin cancer, I realized that life is short. Life is too short to be worried about a suntan, when that tan could end your life. My grandmother had (and survived) malignant melanoma. It runs in my family.
So these days? I’m being smart about sun. Even more so than I used to be. I wear face lotion with sunscreen daily. I slather on some SPF 30 anytime I head out the door for a run. I actually sat in the shade for awhile at the pool today. In the past, I was always careful about the sun – but it was more
to avoid my mother’s scolding to prevent a bad burn. Because those are painful. And ugly.
Now I’m smart about the sun to take care of my health. I wear sunscreen. Always. And I wear a hat. Even though I look terrible in hats. And that healthy glow I was sporting last night at our roommate dinner?
Yeah, it’s from my good friend Jergens. Aka it’s fake! The good kind of fake – the one that comes in a bottle and makes you slightly shimmery, not in a
cancer tanning bed. Cancer has taken too much from me already. I’m not about to help it take anything else.
Plus, I want to be the one who isn’t all wrinkled and leathery when I’m old. Thinking about the long-run here people!
So do me a favor this summer – wear your hat, wear your coverup, wear your sunscreen. Be smart. And be safe.