And Now a Word From Your Mother…

Note:  If you want to leave a comment, just choose “Anonymous” from the Profile Selection drop down bar right below the Comment box. (It’s the very last choice.)  Sorry for any confusion.

Also, please make sure you leave your name or sign-in somewhere in your comment.  Thanks.

…Use Lots of Sunscreen and Wear a Hat!
Writer’s Note: I did not intend to publish this piece on Mother’s Day, but I did not make the time to finish before today. After getting off the phone with my parents, especially my own mom who is in the throes of dementia, I decided to get this one out there for all the moms (and dads) who want the best for their kids – like me – and grand kids, but may forget about the dangers the sun can have on anyone at any time.

– – –

For most of us, spring has sprung and summer time is right around the corner.  I always love using those tried-and-true cliches (or, trite and stupid depending on how you look at them) this time of year to signify the true end of winter and the beginning of warmer weather.  It is now the “season of the sun” as some one poetically wrote many, many years ago.  I love this time of year.  Spring in Memphis can be absolutely gorgeous with the cherry trees, pear trees, dogwoods, and azaleas all competing for Nature’s “best in show” award.  Yesterday, Vicki and I spent much of the afternoon and early evening replanting flowers in pots on the front and back porches.  Mixing color against the backdrop of deeply green lawns and trees is an art form in and of itself. 

It was hot yesterday.  Actually, it was really hot!  And very sunny…not too many clouds in the sky.  We worked late into the afternoon to get most of the flowers planted, then waited to finish until after dinner to take advantage of dusk getting later and later – and the outside temps getting somewhat cooler.  As I worked on the bushes in the front beds, while Vicki created her “masterpieces” in the flower pots, I kept hearing a far off voice…very faint, at first, but – nevertheless – still there. At times haunting, and at other times, monotonously irritating, the voice is familiar – very familiar – and its overbearing tone reminds you of those early days of your life when you could barely take care of yourself.  Over and over again….I couldn’t get those words out of my head:

Use sunscreen and, for goodness sake, wear a hat!

Lurking in the background, those words everyone dreads…..because you know “she” is right, but you can’t stand knowing that “Mom” is always right.  In my reality, Mom made us use good ole Coppertone and wear  t-shirts while we were in the pool, but most of my “overexposure” to the sun came years later when I was off at college or living in Dallas.  Those motherly reminders about the dangers of the sun did not come until much later, after she began to have her own skin issues.  By then, it was too late for me.  

So, this post is my bi-annual warning to everyone out there.  I feel obligated to speak out and, yes, sound like a mom

For most of you out there, this message is not necessarily for you….we’ve reached an era where skin damage caused by the sun is so commonplace it’s like a schedule office meeting with bottles of Dasani already in-place as you take your seat.  Everyone knows the damage the sun can cause, and there’s not much more you can do to get that message out to the masses.  I just want to remind you of the nuisances of sun damage and skin cancer.  Most of us have already incurred some damage from the sun, so I’m not sure I need to remind you of this.  I’m not sure this message is for your children, either.  Most of us – myself included – have kids who are now in their 20s or even (very) early 30s, so, again, the damage – if there is any – has already been done.  No, this is for your grandchildren and, equally important, their children.

Be careful out there!

I don’t care what type of skin you or your kids have, but make damn sure you protect your grandchildren and grand babies, now, before it’s too late.  I honestly believe the next generation of young people will have much healthier skin and less skin cancers to deal with in their later years.  Awareness, just like for other diseases and cancers, along with vigilance is the key to winning the battle and perhaps even the war.

And no, I’m not sure how global warming or the effects of ozone and greenhouse gasses will “play” into my prediction of healthier skin for future generations, but I believe the vigilance that we all now have ingrained in our children and grandchildren will help to slow the future spread of melanoma.

Who knows what to make of statistics and findings from doctors, medical groups, and cancer organizations.  Some data you read says Melanoma is one of the top five most diagnosed cancers – some studies say it’s the number one most diagnosed cancer! – not only in the U.S. but in the world.

All I know if this:  “Mom” was right!  Protect your skin – especially early in life – and the benefits will be tremendous.  I don’t want anyone to go through what I – and others in much worse circumstances than me – are going through, simply to have a GOLDEN TAN.

So endeth the lesson………yes, “Mom” is always right.