Sometimes reality is glaring
Today was the first day of the year that felt like summer. It was warm out—not hot—with a mostly cloudless sky as blue as a Popsicle®. It was quintessential Southern California, the kind of day that begs you to toss your obligations out the window and head directly for the beach with your Coppertone, a double-wide towel and your latest copy of The New Yorker. Or any of the previous four backed up on your nightstand.
I didn’t do that, though, because on Friday, I had a 2mm hunk of skin removed from my chest by a dermatologist who doesn’t think it’s “b.c.c” but wanted to be safe. If it is basal cell carcinoma, of which I have a history, it’s better to remove it now to minimize scarring. Good thing I don’t fancy v-neck tees, or anything. (Which, of course, is part of what got me into the situation in the first place, but save me the lectures. I’m a child of the 70s, a.k.a the Bain de Soleil Era.) After the doctor put the Band-Aid on, she counseled me on caring for the would and said the best thing to prevent it from scarring is to “stay out of the sun.” By which I think she meant, move to Seattle.
I’m not moving. I did, however, pair my 30 SPF lotion with white jeans, a lavender scoop neck t-shirt and a super cute, 3/4 sleeve fuchsia cardigan I picked up at Target last weekend, for a May Day party this afternoon.
Ruby had a great time getting tossed around in the pool by the other grown-ups who weren’t hiding from the sun. I settled for getting splashed on and taking pictures with my phone, mulling the familiar awareness that my child, as usual, was the only brown person in attendance. And I wondered, as usual, how long before she will begin to notice this, too.
Later, when it was time to go home, Ruby wrapped a towel around her body, stuck one corner between her teeth and began to shimmy out of her swim suit, the towel like a tent around her. I knew exactly what she was doing, but asked her anyway needing verbal affirmation as to why my heart was seizing up.
“Here, let me hold the towel for you,” I said.
“No, mom. I can do it myself.” The end of the towel not in her mouth slipped from her bare shoulder. She caught it in with her harm and pulled it around her.
“Well, you don’t need to hide behind a towel, honey. If you want privacy, we can go to the bathroom and change there.” I was starting to panic and trying not to sound like I was starting to panic.
“No, Mom,” she said, beads of water stuck to her eyelashes and glittering on her nose. The towel was still in her mouth and she was speaking through clenched teeth. “I’m trying to do it like the girls at the pool.”
I mean, really: Can the future be any more daunting?