I want to blame Texas. Yeah, the whole state. I want to blame springtime and Mother Nature. I want to blame Matty for taking me to a car show at the Texas Motor Speedway. But I have only one person to blame - myself.
As much as I love the rebirth of the trees, grass and flowers, I dread the Texas heat. We're moving from Brown Season to Green Season here. During the winter months, North Texas turns brown. The trees, the grass, the bushes and scrub, even the roads look brown. We've dubbed this "Brown Season" in our home. As the season changes and the wildflowers begin to bloom in the think tufts of new green grass, the sun is slowly, silently getting stronger. I've noticed the soil cracking where it used to be lush and moist. No longer so. These are the sweet, rich days of spring. The shortest, most bittersweet season in Texas. Everyone knows what's looming - the heat!
So why is this significant, you ask? I'll tell you, but it won't be pretty.
We went to a huge (everything's bigger in Texas) custom car show in Justin, TX this past weekend. The skies were overcast when we left home but soon turned sunny as we arrived, a light breeze blowing endlessly. The show was actually quite fun. I especially enjoyed watching Matty pass on to his daughter the love he has for cars. For all things mechanical and driven. For all those things I take for granted. We arrived there around 11am, and didn't leave until around 5pm when Matt noticed Taylor's arms looking a bit pink, and my chest and shoulders looking reddish. After seeing all the interesting old cars and enjoying some of the old school Rockabilly culture, we headed towards home with a few stops along the way.
We dropped by a hobby store manned by a single shopkeeper, whose eyes widened as we walked in.
"Got a bit of sun today, huh?" he grinned.
I really hadn't looked at myself since the morning and a quick check in the mirror revealed what he saw. I was a rebel red lobster! All the skin that had been exposed throughout the day was fire engine red. I groaned, knowing the pain would come fast and hard.
At home, I applied aloe, and took some Advil. And waited. Sunday was uncomfortable and painful. I made Flower Pup collars all day and found that sitting fairly still was a grand idea. Sunday night the pain intensified. I tried a cool shower and almost came undone. I was scheduled to work Monday afternoon, but since trying to put on a sweatshirt to take the girls out that evening resulted in tears, I called in sick. Monday evening the blisters started and I had chills whenever I moved too much. The girls lay beside me in bed, vigilant and worried. The unspoken understanding of weakness in a pack member. Each time I got up, Nyxie would watch me with lowered head. I'm quite sure "broiled" isn't what she's used to smelling from me. Arwen just snuggled closer.
I knew I couldn't be wrestling any creatures at work the way I was feeling so I called out sick again on Tuesday. I felt so ridiculous. I couldn't leave the house. I couldn't even walk the dogs comfortably. They're used to walkies on Mom Stay At Home days. Not these days. I hid from the sun like a mole. Both Monday and Tuesday started out overcast, settling into sunny skies in the afternoons. My blinds have been shut.
Yesterday I went to work. It hurt. But I bought sunscreen on the way home.
As I write this on a warm, breezy and sunbeam filled day, my skin reminds me to stay indoors. I'm physically nervous to go outdoors. I had a disagreement with the sun. I thought there'd be a few more days, weeks, even a month or two to prepare. I was wrong. You might be pale, you may need more gym time, you may need to make summer camp plans. But more time is a luxury you just don't have. Ready or not, spring is here. I'm ready now. I have my sunscreen.