Sunburned ( A Collection of Tales)

My brother and I saw my mom get up before we could move fast enough. She was armed with the dreaded sunscreen that we both hated the smell of and even worse couldn’t stand it on us. I glared at my brother who never even burned out in the sun. He was always tan like my dad. As she applied it to me, I could already feel the burn against the straps of my bathing suit snapping against my skin. Showering that night was not going to be fun.

Some years later, my best friends and I went to the beach. My mom must have lectured me a million times on not getting burned out in that hot sun. One best friend was like my brother and didn’t have to worry at all. The other… well she decided somehow she was going to get a tan even if she was as white as a ghost and had no hopes of that. Baby oil went everywhere including her feet. Later two of us would laugh at her as she dealt with the sunburn between her toes. I don’t think she ever did that again.

After throwing in our towels, chairs, and beach bags, another best friend and I were ready to hit the sand. After all, we had our drivers licenses now and could go anywhere! Driving the 30 minutes it took to get to the beach, we got distracted by the exit for the mall and found ourselves turning off there instead.

Shopping sounded so much better than getting sunburned.

It took me over an hour of trying on bathing suits to see which bikini worked for me. I slowly packed my beach bag with a magazine, some pretzels and a bottle of water. My hands slightly shook as I painted my nails a bright pink. I was going to the beach with a guy who had been asking me out for months but I was too afraid to say yes. Today was the day. He drove and I smiled as we passed the exit for the mall. There would be no detours this time. We sat for hours. There was some talking as we tried to figure each other out. Other times, just silence as the waves crashed into the sand. Later that night as I waited for him to call, I stared in the mirror at my sunburned face jumping every time the phone rang.

I looked up from the book I was reading. It was finally summer break after my first year of teaching. People watching was my favorite thing to do at the pool. It was so entertaining to see what people wear and more importantly, what they shouldn’t wear. For example: speedos need to be banned at certain ages. The wind blew through my hair as I smiled at someone saying hello. It was peaceful for the first time in a very long time. Feeling burned was something I would never let happen again.

My husband and I  both wanted a honeymoon on the beach. These perfect moments were a long time coming and we wanted to enjoy it all. After our wedding, we would need a swim up bar and some relaxation time. Moving out from under the umbrella, I put my hat on and greeted our favorite bartender. He handed me the daiquiri and joked about my fancy French manicured nails.  My husband made sure the sunscreen covered my back because he was worried about me burning in that hot Caribbean sun.

And now I push a cart full of sand toys and loaded up with towels towards the ocean. My swimsuit cover up was one I had thrown on in haste as we rushed to get out before the meltdowns happened.  The kids run ahead and I yell out to them wait….

“I don’t want you to get burned…”

Can you relate to the different scenarios in this post? Join in on the conversation at 40 Wishes and Counting and as always if you feel like sharing, that is appreciated!! Thank you so much for supporting me!


  1. says

    Definitely can relate! I have fair skin but my sister has olive skin that never burned.. My youngest son is blonde & very fair skinned – he burns so easily – we went to the Isle of Man one year in May – not very hot but it was sunny. My son was a baby, he was in a double buggy , well shaded but he still managed to catch the sun.

  2. says

    Man…this was my life as a youngster. I always was getting sunburned….
    It reminds me of drinking too much…you don’t realize it until it’s too late!

  3. says

    Isn’t it something how a thread of continuity connects all the stages of our lives! My high school friends and I were those baby oil babes back in the day–oh, we had no idea what we were doing to our skin. I wised up in later years. I remember my first Caribbean sunburn and it was horrible, so I’m glad you avoided that one!

  4. says

    I remember going to the beach one summer and getting so badly sunburned, but not even realizing it until I took a shower that night. Then it was like my skin was on fire. Couldn’t sleep. Hurt to move. I still like to get a little color every summer, but that experience has made sure that I never allow myself to get burned again!

  5. says

    Great way of telling it. I have always hated suncream, but do wear it when needed, and always put it on the kids. I don’t sunbathe. I hate heat and find sunbathing boring. I always try to stay in shade. I’m very pale, but always to everyone’s surprise, I don’t actually burn easily, and I will tan if I spend time in the sun, I just usually don’t!

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