16. Sunscreen… when I was a little girl, the only sun protection about was that goopy flouro zinc that only cricket players and lifeguards still wear these days. Shocker. As a result I am covered top-to-toe with freckles (and a startlingly white stomach in the middle).

While I have long made peace with my many freckles, I do still remember how hard it was when kids teased me endlessly for my freckles and red hair. When I sought out a shady tree instead of soaking in the water all day with others so I didn’t end up in immense pain, immobile and smeared in Aloe Vera leaf pulp. When all my friends seemed to tan and lol great in bathing suits while I did my best to cover up any scerric of white skin. When I wonder if this is the start of my run of cancer every time a new mole comes up.

Even now, my family heads to the beach for a day and pooh-pooh my habitual sun-avoiding ways and copious sun-screening, only to act surprised when despite my best efforts I have a sunburn at the end of the day because I tried to keep up with them. Drives me just a little bit nuts.

And now I have two fair-skinned redheaded kids of my own. And still I hear the ignorant words. Oh, don’t be dramatic, they’ll be fine. (A bad sunburn hurts like fuckery; if you’ve never had one foot to scalp, you’re not qualified to comment.) A few freckles aren’t going to matter. (A few this summer and a few next summer, for 15 years is a lot, not a little) I never put sunscreen on my kids because it’s carcinogenic. (So is melanoma.) It wasn’t that bad growing up with freckles, was it?? (Sometimes, yes.)

Oh – well you guys would know best, aye. Ok then.

Thank God I can sunscreen my kids and do my best to protect them from pain, melanoma and stupidity.

Got to love that!