Summer Tan

16 Jul

Confession #1: Attempt to conceal a suntan

 

My father’s work centered on exporting Ban De Soleil which did not provide enough sunscreen and helped me tan….

I wish my mom I hope my mom did not know about all of the times that I hid my tan. Honestly, I think she must have been able to see through the J & J Baby Powder I often applied on the way home from a too sunny day at the beach. Her adamant anti-tan stance was certainly strong and right. Although, as a teenager—or even young adult, I never acquiesced and always argued against her anti-tan campaign. This is definitely on the top ten list of “Things I Swore I Would NOT Do When I Became a Mom, But Now Do with Conviction.” Except, I recently got caught falling into that old, bad tanning habit.

Confession #2: Being tan again

I was inspired to write this particular post last week when a kind, unassuming woman who seemed to be about the same age my mom would be (80 ish) commented on my tan. I was waiting for my son when she walked into the doctor’s waiting room, smiled at me and said, “Oh, what a pretty tan you have.” How could she know that her comment would incite guilt. I  had not even realized that I have a noticeable tan. I looked at my arms and saw my soccer mom’s tan. It makes sense that the sun’s rays have pierced through my sunscreen given the many hours I’ve spent on the sideline.

I felt my mom’s reprimand from years ago and replied, “Oh thank you, but I think I’d better be more careful when I watch my son play soccer.” Not intending to play devil’s advocate, she interrupted my confession and continued to compliment my “lovely color.” Then, she re-directed our discussion to questions about my son and his summer soccer. Soon I was entranced and enjoying the attention and her interest in me and my son.

Confession #3  This post is not just about the allure and danger of being tan

One of the reasons I started this blog is my husband’s observation 16 years ago. He noticed that after returning from playing with my daughter in Taylor Park, I would often have a story about older, grandmother-type women I met. I would gush, “Oh she told me about her children….she takes her little grandchildren to the park…she can’t wait to see her daughter’s new baby…..” Sometimes they gave unsolicited advice that I imbibed—I hope you don’t give her too much candy…make sure you set rules…enjoy each moment….Of course they oohed and aahed as they exclaimed how adorable my daughter was, how smart she seemed, what a good jungle gym climber she was…. Scott put this all together with a spot-on summation: through these women, I was able to experience the mom/grandmother relationship I so desired. These “other mothers” , provided a glimpse into the life I imagined I’d have with my mom. My experience last week gave me a few moments with an “other mother.”

I wish my mom knew how much her wisdom would inspire me. While I did not have the chance to admit to her that she was right about the tan (and obviously still need to be reminded), I think that she must have seen my powder cover-up as a sign of guilt and acknowledgement.

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3 Responses to “Summer Tan”

  1. Stacie @ Snaps and Bits July 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Great post Shari!

    It’s funny, but my Mom was always anti-tan too and that wasn’t very common back then. I can remember she would smear us with the only sunscreen available, “Sea & Ski,” which I much later learned was the equivalent of SPF 4. So, we would burn anyway on our vacations since we were so fair and spent so much time playing in the sun and water. Then, she’d pull out the t-shirts. No one else’s Mom did that. My how I hated wearing those t-shirts in the water. When I got old enough to understand, she told me that her best friend from college died of melanoma before she was 30. Then it all made sense. How sobering. My kids are fair too and I have always been vigilant about the sunscreen!

    I was shocked by how manny tanning salons there are in NJ! There are not nearly as many in CA. Of course, I don’t want cancer, of course, but I am also doing everything I can to try to avoid more wrinkles these days!

    • Shari Danzig Stein July 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

      Your mom was ahead of her time with the shirts. I’m sure I would have been made to wear a long sleeve shirt! But, I’m sure I would have taken it off as soon as my mom was out of sight….

  2. Stacie @ Snaps and Bits July 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Congratulations Shari! I just awarded you with a burdensome blog award. MY rules are: If you want to do it, do it. If you don’t, don’t. It doesn’t matter to me (although don’t think I’m not totally interested in your answers). I just want you to know that I think you are awesome! I wonder what your Mom would think of this silliness!

    http://www.snapsandbits.com/blog-awards-are-like-chain-letters/#.UAxYoo6yrwg

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