I've mentioned before that I felt like my journey sometimes takes a life of it's own. Especially with this blog. Sometimes I come in with the idea to write about one topic, and as I write, it goes a whole different direction. Probably why I didn't do too well on essays in school, I had trouble staying on topic. Well there was one time in college that I stayed on topic so well that my persuasive essay had too many supporting facts and THAT counted against me. Anyway. I have found that I want to tell my story and experiences. I want to educate my friends and family. I have been looking for a direction to take it further. If you have been following my journey, you know that a few weeks ago I was presented with an opportunity to suggest a meeting topic to a moms group, and I suggested sun safety for children as an idea for spring or for May which is skin cancer awareness month. Well, I thought that would be the end of that direction and I kept brainstorming ideas for my own age group. Well, as you will read, that wasn't the end, because I can't seem to get my mind off the children.
On Saturday, my daughter and I went to a "Taste of..." event at a local church. It was held from 12-4:30, so in the peak sunlight hours that you are supposed to avoid. It was also in a field, so no hope of finding shade. Next time, I will be the one in a sun hat. We only planned on being there for about 2 hours, but as we were about to leave, our friends came in and said their sons band was singing at 4, so we stayed.
I used all the products I listed in my previous post, and applied a SPF 30 before leaving home. After about an hour, I noticed that my scar was looking pink. I joked that my UV indicator was sending me a warning and walked back to the car to get the sunscreen. As I was returning to our group, my 4 year old turned around and saw me. Without hesitating, or me saying a word, she ran over and put her arms out so I could spray her too.
I thought that was the coolest thing. She saw me carrying the spray can and ran over and put her arms out. Okay, maybe that is just dorky of me, but it made me really proud.
Unfortunately, had it been my olive skinned 14 year old, he would have grumbled through the first application and probably refused the second one. For my 4 year old, it is just a fact of life. She also has snow white skin, so she understands the consequences of no sunscreen. For him, he was 13 when I had my awakening (melanoma diagnosis), and by then I had already set the tone of minimal protection. He was on a retreat getting a blistering burn, the week of my surgery. He is at that stubborn age too, you know the one where mom is just overreacting to everything??
I think this is the perfect example of why I am suddenly so passionate about reaching the parents in a way that they will teach their children while they are young, to develop good habits and hopefully break the cycle of sun-abuse. I didn't see this direction coming, I have spent my energy the past 15 months sharing information with my friends and family. Hoping that they would see me and hear me, and make more safe decisions. I really want to reach the next generation. I know that when the kids are younger, parents are more consistent with applying sunscreen to them before they spend time outside. It is when they reach about school age, that the parents back off a little. I want to find a way to keep that habit from breaking as they get older. I really do want to somehow work with mom's groups, preschools, day cares, etc., to find a way to get this message out so that not only do the parents remember, but the children also remind the parents they need it. It happens, my little one wont let me forget.