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?

6 Responses to Sometimes reality is glaring

  • I love this shot. SO perfect!
    Thank you so your nice comment. My younger brother Philip Charles takes my picturs. I shall do a post on him this week or maybe the next.


  • Caro says:

    I sure hope everything is ok with your skin scare. And that gorgeous Ruby, don’t you worry about her. I doubt she’ll be a self-conscious one with such a wonderful example she has in you.

  • MidLifeMama says:

    I could not wear that cardigan at all, since all it would do is emphasize my bountiful ass. But it is a lovely color. I am a child of the 70′s too, and am amazed at how we just slathered baby oil on ourselves and laid out all day long. One small tiny cancer scare 15 years ago and you can bet that I don’t leave the house without the sun screen on, even in Boston on a crappy day like today.

  • Anne says:

    She’s growing up too fast, it’s happening too soon. Damn those girls at the pool! Oh, and Mrs. Allen, ugh! The smell, feel, lay out of that locker room, showers and Mrs. Allen there with her clip board is all burned in my memory.

  • Robert K says:

    ‘Just got back from our 3-week Egypt/Jordan vacation. While staying at the Dead Sea, I heard a 30-something European guy asking one of the lifeguards where the changing room was. I thought to myself, “Really? You can’t just throw the towel around you like every 12-year old in SoCal knows how to?”

  • I see her as a future water polo player and swimmer–she’s practicing her deck change.

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