The Sunburn

On the last day of school, the Gort and his classmates participated in a ‘sports’ day. He was rather preoccupied with the whole affair – the details thereof, not the sports themselves, of course.

‘Mom, for sports day, I’m going to need a hat and sunscreen and a LOT of water!’ he reminded me repeatedly the week before school ended.

And so, on that final day, Tuesday morning at 6.36 to be exact, I opened my eyes and found one dressed-and-ready-to-go boy standing beside my bed. ‘Mom, I’m ready for sports day,’ he announced. I squinted at the alarm clock.

‘It’s 6.30,’ I asked-informed, doing my unawake best to determine if it was, in fact, time to get up. ‘Go downstairs and read,’ I dismissed him once I felt confident of my morning math skills.

Shortly before 7.30, I stumbled downstairs and found the lad waiting for me; having read all of the library books and fed himself breakfast. ‘I need sunscreen,’ he directed, so I handed him the pink bottle of cream. He went to town, slathering sticky white lotion all over himself. His face. Even his eyelids.

‘You’re not supposed to wipe it in your eyes,’ I chided in disbelief. I’d never seen anyone willingly rub anything into their eyes.

Panicked, he scrubbed at his eyes with wet Kleenex, desperate to undo his overzealous application. Many wads of soaked tissue later, I drove my first grader to school – for the last time. When I picked him up six and a half hours later, he was in good spirits. Despite the red ring around the back of his neck.

‘Hey, you forgot to put sunscreen on the back of your neck – you have a sunburn,’ I pointed out. Well this created all sorts of drama and halfhearted declarations about how he was never going to go in the sun again or wear shorts or go outside. Or something to that effect.

The next morning we headed for the playground. I found my oldest waiting for the rest of his party at the door. He was wearing long pants. Socks. Tennis shoes. A t-shirt. A long-sleeved button-down shirt over said t-shirt. And a hat.

I felt like I was going to the park with Michael Jackson.

(May he rest in peace.)

Fast forward one hour. ‘I want to go home, I’m boiling hot,’ the seven year old announced in a manner that suggested I was somehow responsible for his fully-covered state.


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