Summer has unofficially ended, marked by the Labor Day holiday weekend and the start of a new school year. Each September you can divide out the public into a few general groups:
1) The people with paper countdown chains waiting for pumpkin spice products to hit the shelves.
2) The teachers who are nine days into school like “who put this class list together, I will find them and make them my substitute”.
3) The women who won’t let society put them in a box: “WATCH ME wear these white pants all September.”
4) The parents we’ve laid to rest because they spent four months of pool days wrestling sunscreen onto toddlers.
Today, we pause and remember these parents as being upstanding mothers and fathers whose only mistake was trying to protect their children’s skin. Let us look back at their journey in sunscreen application and bow our heads in remembrance:
The Final Moments Of A Parent Who Didn’t Know Any Better
(All Mom wanted to do at Target was read each of the sunscreen labels to determine which lotions were 100% mineral, organic, fragrance-free, and moisturized with the kisses of fairies- but due to the toddler who kept growling at other guests, they ended up with three hastily-chosen bottles of lotion full of chemicals with toxic sunscreen ingredients linked to Ebola.)
- Parent located and retrieved Ebola lotion in the house and walked toward child without making eye contact. (knowing if eye contact was made, MISSION ABORTED.)
- Parent bent down to hug child then transitioned hug to casual but firm half-nelson stronghold. Child realized sunscreen was about to be applied and lost his ever-loving mind. Wiggling turned to thrashing, whining turned to screaming.
Parent wondered how much a toddler would sell for on eBay.Sunscreen application began.
- The child was not reassured when told, “Everyone has to put on sunscreen when they go to the pool”, until parent turned it into a song and made it sound like Daniel Tiger sang it first. Parent kept singing made-up melody until toddler asked permission to put sunscreen on the cat. “Sure, that sounds like a great way to have your entire arm clawed off, so yeah, go ahead and smear Coppertone into her fur and I’ll be over here picking out your bionic arm.” (So far, we officially put sunscreen on just one arm.)
- Mom called for back-up and both parents prepared to tag team the process: while Mom applied sunscreen as quickly as humanly possible, Dad was responsible for distraction. Parents tested hypothesis: “Sunscreen cannot be thoroughly applied to a toddler’s face wet with tears and spit.” Scientific method confirmed hypothesis. While Mom was trying to rub in lotion around the eyes, toddler shook head back and forth to test his own hypothesis: “Sunscreen accidentally applied to eyeballs will be a fun and soothing way to prevent UVA/UVB damage.” Hypothesis so very disproved.
- Immediately after child was released from Ocean Potion Prison, parents realized they forgot to screen up critical areas: behind child’s ears and on the back of the neck. As the child was running around downstairs like a lunatic, Mom threw the bottle of lotion to Dad, yelled “GOD WHY ARE YOU TESTING ME”, and momentarily hid in the bedroom with a lit candle and some Enya music.
- Child sat on the hardwood floor and strategically tantrumed so that 40% of the applied sunscreen rubbed onto the floor. Mom tentatively emerged from the bedroom. Parents stood there, unmoved and hardened to any sniffly cries of “huuuuurttts”.
Dad: “Why didn’t we use spray-on sunscreen again?”
Mom: “He squirms no matter what. Plus, the last time I used spray-on sunscreen, I’m pretty sure he huffed the fumes and was high at the neighborhood pool.”
Dad: “Why didn’t you send me a video of that?”
Mom: “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because I was busy reapplying sunscreen on your two-year-old and planning out exactly how I’d cry myself to sleep that night.”
Dad: “Cool. Lotion’s okay, I guess.”
The tombstones of parents no longer with us:
Although we leave summer, we will hold the memory of these parents in our hearts forever.
May they rest in peace.