“I could play connect the dots on your face!”
I can’t count the number of times I have heard that phrase uttered in my twenty years. Playing connect the dots on my face is possible, though. I have so many freckles that connect the dots would take several hours.
I know many people are embarrassed by their freckles and try to get rid of them by washing their face with lemon juice and caking on pounds of foundation. I’ve never been embarrassed by my spots, and they haven’t always covered my entire face.
I had bangs my entire life, and when I say bangs, I mean BANGS. The kind that started in the middle of my scalp and spanned the complete width of my forehead (thanks, mom). They were a force to be reckoned with.
At the beginning of my sophomore year at camp, I decided to let my bangs grow out. I’ll never forget the first time I clipped my hair up and galloped out to the practice field to find everyone laughing at me. I hadn’t realized that my bangs had created a shield against the sun for fifteen years, resulting in a bulbous, white forehead while my cheeks, nose, and chin were smothered in specks. I looked cool.
Even through that awkward stage of facial inconsistency, I never bemoaned my specks. I would never try to cover up my freckles – they are a roadmap of my life.
My freckles represent the hours I have spent crouched behind home plate, slicking sweat out of my eyes through my metal mask. My freckles represent the summer days that I ran around with my siblings, our bare feet slapping on the hot cement. They remind me of sitting on the porch with my neighbors, watching the sun drop below the tree line, hoping that our moms wouldn’t call us in for bed.
My freckles remind me of the long summer nights that I would sneak onto the roof of my house to catch a glimpse of the sky that was filled with infinite stars, reflecting what I saw on my own face. My freckles remind me of my days filled with laughter and transform me back into that wide-eyed kid who never wanted to grow up.
My freckles also represent the times I was careless. The times I had too much fun in the pool and forgot sunscreen. The times I couldn’t even lie on my back, let alone sleep because I was in so much pain. The times I applied endless coats of aloe Vera that cooled me off the instantly, if only for a second.
When I look in the mirror and am faced with my freckles, I am reminded of many things. I am reminded of the pride I’ve felt, the heartache I’ve suffered, and the laughs I’ve shared.
When my children and my grandchildren ask me about my freckles, I will not tell them they are “angel kisses,” or “sun spots.” I will tell them my freckles are a gift – and they are a reminder of the full, fun life I have lived.
I believe in freckles. And this I believe.
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