It’s always been a nice thing to be able to hand stuff down from generation to generation. To keep traditions going…to be able to say stuff like, “This was my grandma’s. She had this when she was a kid!” Little trinkets…maybe clothing…maybe a doll or diary. But then there are the other things that get handed down that just flat out suck. In our family, it’s bad skin. I don’t mean like teenage acne either…I mean BAD skin. The worst. The kind you want to rip off and leave in a heap somewhere for some other family. Yes, that leaves a nasty visual, and I’m sorry, but it’s really THAT bad.
Excema, psoriasis, calluses, sensitive skin, allergies…you name it, we got it. I don’t know exactly how many different medicines and lotions we’ve had to use over the years, but right now I can name 14 that we have in the house at this very moment. Just tonight I counted 4 lotions I had to put on my son for 4 different flare ups he’s having. This has been going on for generations. My grandfather’s hands looked like rocks! Big strong cracked up rocks. He never complained. I don’t mean to either, but when I watch my little 3 year old son scratch and scratch and scratch so much that he bleeds…it hurts my heart. I need to complain, just a little.
And thinking of my 7 year old daughter…and then thinking of what I went through as an angst-y teenager…I worry for her. It’s enough pressure to just BE in high school. Having something that’s different about you – and not different in a good way- is hard. Right now she doesn’t care that she has to have greasy lotion all over her face when we go to an amusement park. But she IS starting to wear longer shorts to cover up her red cracked skin on her knees. When she turns 14, what do I do for her? Do I tell her what I used to do? That I would make up lies because I was embarrassed? I would tell everyone that my knees & elbows looked all banged up because I fell a lot on the basketball court. I don’t how that lie was better than just saying “I have psoriasis”, but in my teenage mind I guess it was.
I am 37 years old and JUST came to the realization that it really doesn’t matter…friends don’t care what your skin looks like. And if it hurts, they will help you. But I still worry for my kids, because it’s a long time till they’re 37. I hope they can both keep the attitudes they have right now and save the angst for boyfriend/girlfriend troubles.