Daddy Joe who has just recovered from a surgery to remove his Basal Cell Carcinoma (a mild skin cancer growth) stared at the giant box of stuff I took over from the skinny postman in utter disbelief. I chucked the big box on our dining table and started cutting through the masking tape on top of the box with the excitement of a child opening her Christmas present exclaiming proudly, “Your health solutions have arrived!”
Slowly I took out the items inside the box and explained to Daddy Joe the purpose of each of these natural food that would contribute to his health. “Virgin Coconut Oil — there was a study someone did on rats with cancers and apparently VCO can remove the cancerous cells in those rats.” I enthused. “Uh huh,” was his reply. “Apple Cider Vinegar, nature’s answer for a gentle detox!” I said then opened up the bottle trying to smell the fermented apple in the vinegar. “Oh, and this, this is your first ever Man-makeup, darling! An organic face lotion with a built-in sunblock of SPF 30, so very high tech!” I tossed the lotion into his lap but from the corner of my eyes caught the glimpse of a man with his deflated ego reading the product label with a painful expression.
I sat down next to him on the sofa, reached for his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze and said, “Oh come on, you know you need to just put on this ONE thing to ensure you will not get any more skin cancer from sun exposure, right?” I pleaded with the father of my 3 kids who seemed completely lost in his own thought.
I understand his agony being around him and with him far longer than he has been with his beloved badminton racquet. Basically I am married to a man with really fair skin. So fair that when we walk out together in a mall, let’s just say that he is the Snow White, while I am more of the…more of the… I wish I can settle for being the evil Queen or Stepmother with her fair but well-hidden wrinkly skin, or the seven lovable dwarfs who all seem White-ish, but the truth is I am closer in looks to one of the brown or grey birds chirping in the air while Snow White walks in the wood. The sun kisses on his radiant skin that bounces off lights whereas I absorb the sun so much that my kids always complaint that they can’t see me in a dark room.
For years this macho Snow White can walk out ready to go to work with just two steps in the morning. Brush Teeth then Splash-Face-with-Cold-Water. Done. Then out to face the challenges of the day! I have at least 10 steps excluding the teeth brushing part before I can face the day without shocking the world with my look. Then he found out that he had this mild skin cancer that required a traumatic facial surgery that includes skin grafting and some changing of lifestyle and diets which the brown bird he was living with made him do, including applying a daily sunblock.
His world came crumbling down on the day he was made to wear a sunblock. “Really?” he asked me. “Unless you can live with wearing a cover-all astronaut costume that blocks out the sun ray when you go about town,” I challenged. “This is a woman’s thing! A face lotion or a sunblock is just not macho. Someone should make it illegal for wives to force their husbands put on face lotion,” he exclaimed. I wanted to laugh but I suppressed my desire to comment further then asked him to accompany me as we drove the three kids to a friend’s villa for a swim.
Since we all love the fun but not the sun, there were layers after layers of sunblock I applied to the happiest little people’s exposed skin much to their chagrin. Like their macho dad, they hate sticky lotions on their bodies. We also looked rather odd in our fully clothed swim suit as compared to a few expatriate families I spotted who wore skimpy bikinis and swimming trunks. To be fair, those moms look amazing in their lanky skinny frames whereas I have signs of motherhood displayed gloriously on every inch of my body that are best covered up in full suit. Well, you know what I mean.
My kids have also taken after my preference for conservative approach at the pool lest we have any catastrophic wardrobe malfunction chasing down one another. With the two older kids changed into their swim suits and Baby B donned a Cheekaaboo WarmieBabes Suit that helped shield him from the harm of UV rays and chlorine, the kids looked set for a whale of a time in the water.
Before long, I realised that Cheeky Koko was doing the ‘1, 2, 3 and down’ countdown command I always said whenever I was teaching Baby B to swim! I would carry him face to face and bob him up and down on the count of 3 to get him to learn to hold his breath underwater gradually. I have been coached by an instructor friend and have done it a few times but never really submerging Baby B underwater for more than a second and the big brother must have thought that he could also coach his baby brother to swim the same way!
So I yelled at both Amigos like a an overstressed mama grizzly bear and charged forward stretching out both arms grabbing Baby B out of the water just before the two Amigos plunged under together. I stood in the pool like a monument, sweating, a bit shaken, half breathless, and very overreacted clasping my little one as if I was holding a grand prize after winning a local fishing competition! Seeing this, Cheeky Koko asked me to just relax as he knew how to handle this ‘baby swimming lesson’ being a “Pro”! When I have done repeating myself to Cheeky Koko that a swimming lesson for the baby by him is a completely disastrous no-no, I released the two boys to their water adventure again as Daddy Joe and I took shelter from the sweltering heat of the day under the canopy.
I turned around to a lobster red Daddy Joe and asked, “So you ready for your sunblock lotion, Macho Man?”
“I don’t have a choice, do I?” He examined the stash of sunblock lotions I placed on the pool table. I laughed cheekily and added, “No, but if you can take the knife of the surgeon, you can take a sunblock, Macho Man.” And as I said that, I laughed quietly on my own as the Macho Man song by Village People just had to ring in my mind:
Every man wants to be a macho man
To have the kind of body always in demand
Joggin’ in the mornings, go man go
Workouts in the health spa, muscles grow
You can best believe me He’s a macho man
Glad he took you down with anyone you can
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey Macho, macho man
I gotta be a macho man
Macho macho man I gotta be a macho
Macho, macho man I gotta be a macho man
Macho macho man I gotta be a macho man
Sunblock: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/phuthinhco/7651679180/”>Phú Thịnh Co via http://photopin.com”>photopin> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/6884555524/”>Joe Shlabotnik</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>