Last week, I reluctantly packed up my ginger (and non-ginger) family and took them swimming at a small, local water park. I really did not want to go, but I sucked it up and went.
At the park, there were about a hundred people swimming while we were there. And of all of them, six of them were gingers, with three of those being from my own family. Of the other three, one was definitely not a natural redhead. Don’t ask how I found out.
Now, I don’t usually take care to notice the absence of other redheads, but I always notice them when they’re around. You all know what I mean.
I don’t go out specifically searching for other redheads if that’s what you think, but like I’ve always said, there’s a kind of kinship, a natural attraction, when we do run into each other.
Besides the fact that we’re so rare, there was another obvious reason for a lack of redheads at the water park. The sun was out, it was hot and icky.
My ginger kids don’t understand my aversion to the sun yet. I have been fairly diligent about their sunblock use, and as such, they’ve never been burned to the point where they’ve gotten blisters, thank goodness.
But I have. When I was a kid, my NON-GINGER mama didn’t always make me and my fair-haired, fair-skinned sisters wear sunblock.
She had brown hair and could easily tan. She just didn’t “get” us. And because I didn’t know any better, I suffered horrible sunburns complete with enormous blisters under the Florida sun and in the Las Vegas desert.
Very un-cool. This is why I hate the sun. I know all too well of its painful, blazing wrath. Unlike me, however, my own ginger kids have been lucky and haven’t suffered terribly because of the sun.
This is one time where I can honestly say with certainty that I have achieved a parenting win! Unfortunately, I think that’s why they just don’t understand me, and it’s why they always want to play outside even on sunny 95 degree days.
I think gingers have no place in the southern part of the United States where the climate is sub-tropical, and lately, I have seriously considered packing up my little redheads and moving us to Scotland. Clouds are our natural allies. We should embrace this symbiotic relationship.
Also, it’s pretty darn cool that 13% of the Scottish population are natural redheads.
But now that the summer is in full swing, sunscreen has claimed its personal spot in our family budget. Actually, it’s a HUGE spot in our family budget.
As any redhead will attest to, sunblock is NOT cheap. Before Logan and Evelyn came along, I bought the stuff sparingly. Most of the time, my hubby and I were nocturnal. We had day jobs, but we played at night.
And did I mention that I HATE the smell of the stuff? I ABHOR IT. However, once I became a ginger MOM, I thought it was time to get serious and be responsible, sense of smell be damned.
I really have always tried my best to keep my kids covered and protected from the sun. Who am I kidding, though? Sometimes I just forget. Sometimes we end up outside on a whim. I don’t carry the stuff with me, though now that I write this, I realise that I should.
Logan and Evelyn like the spray sunblock. I mean that. They actually like putting that stuff on their skin. It’s a lot easier for them to apply themselves and smells better than the lotions, and it’s absolutely perfect for someone as fiercely independent as Evelyn (and most redheads). She likes to spray herself, then Logan, then me, then whoever else she can get close to.
My kids have been taught since birth that we use sunblock. They think everyone uses it, and I for one haven’t corrected them. Just like healthy eating, this is one habit I want them to continue to into adulthood and teach to their own (hopefully certifiably ginger) children.
Every now and then, I’ve been known to open my big mouth and say to other moms of fair-skinned kids that MAYBE they need to reapply sunblock on their kids. Should I mind my business? Probably. But since gingers ARE my business, it’s okay to speak up.
I think that from here on out, as a ginger community, we need to help the non-gingers who have been blessed (or cursed) with redheaded children. We need to teach them about the dangers of going without sunblock and hats and long sleeves and sunglasses.
I am trying to correct my own mother’s mistakes by being persistent when I take care of my ginger kids’ skin. If we set an example and speak up when we see someone who clearly doesn’t understand the redhead skin dilemma, then we can make a difference.
Feel free to talk to strangers and speak out of turn. Give unsolicited advice. Preserve that gorgeous pale skin and those awesome ginger genes!
Tune in every week (ish) for a dose of mischief and hilarity from Diedra and her ginger family. Check out the last installment!