With the Appearance of Freckles

Before Archer was born I figured people were born with freckles, or maybe it was something I never thought entirely about. Not until Archer was born pale and unspeckled.

I've always been fond of freckles. I think they're adorable on children and sexy on adults. Growing up I memorized the freckled patters on my arms and legs: the pattern that forms a little dipper on my right arm. I remember, in Kindergarten excitedly finding Cassiopeia on my left shoulder and how I was with the boy I had a crush on as we counted our freckles together under the slide.

I kept my favorite freckles a secret and when I couldn't find constellations on my skin I drew them myself. A giraffe down my stomach. A robot on my calf. Sometimes I would find a new freckle and give it a name. And every year more of them would appear, multiplying under the sun, having freckle babies in the night when my eyes were closed.

I have been waiting rather excitedly to see whether or not Archer would become freckled, covered with constellations, speckled with little moles he might one day call "his favorite". They recently started to appear, the freckles, popping up like little mushrooms, dark scattered specks upon his toes and fingers and scrawny knees.

The first freckle I noticed was on his toe. He was wearing sandals and then POW! It existed. Out of nowhere. Several weeks ago, it happened again, except this time on his face-- two tiny dots appeared. Skin no longer a pure porcelain. When you're a new parent, every little thing becomes a major milestone, just like every silly scribble-drawing becomes a masterpiece. I am more in love with Archer's quirks-- the things that make him unique. The marks and spots that appear and form, the scars.

Never trust a man who doesn't have a visible scar
, I was once told by a very wise man I met on an airplane on my way home from London. I have no recollection of how or why the subject of "scars" or even men came up, but airplanes do funny things to strangers where sage advice is concerned.

The innocence and purity of youth are as ephemeral as the wind. Babies quickly become children who swear and hit and get angry. Who cry and spit and fall in love. Who break hearts and toys and scar and wake up with new freckles, after flailing, sleepless nights.

I know that children grow fast, that every parent mourns the quickness of time, change, and the terrifying things that happen when innocence is replaced by intelligence. Doubt. Cynicism. It can be difficult to watch our babies become little people, every day more ringed like the trunks of trees, marked by life in all it's unpredictability. Little clouds changing so quickly it is almost possible to watch them grow, shift.

The man on the airplane was definitely right. One should never trust a man (or woman) who doesn't have any scars. And life moves fast and change is constant and children grow up, look different, start to recognize themselves in the mirror and in secret choose favorite freckles under the slide.

There is something very exciting about gazing across the vastness of a new and stretching skin, watching as stars appear and constellations form. Overnight. On Archer's face. Between his toes. Across his skin, like canvas.

A little sad, maybe. But mostly exciting.


**cross-posted at Straight From the Bottle**


Meemo | 12:51 AM

What a great post. This really hit close to home.

My boys are growing so fast, but instead of looking for freckles, they look for arm pit hair. Gross, I know. They always think they see one but when I look, it's usually lint.

Anonymous | 7:34 AM

"It can be difficult to watch our babies become little people, every day more ringed like the trunks of trees, marked by life in all it's unpredictability. Little clouds changing so quickly it is almost possible to watch them grow, shift."
I loved this line - going from trees to clouds, so different and yet both so fitting.

I love freckles, too, but finding them on myself has been unsettling. I've always had clear, pale skin, and recently my nose and cheeks have become freckle-studded in the summertime. I'm not sure how I feel about being 27 and newly freckled, if it looks weird on me with my pale skin and blonde hair, if I am the freckle type. But I guess it's part of growing up, right?

Anonymous | 10:41 AM

I know what you mean, my three year old baby boy just got his freckles this summer. My daughter noticed them first, saying "Mom, look, he was kissed my fairies last night!" and I love them, everything that makes him more of who he is.

Anonymous | 4:07 PM

Freckles are cute when you're a little kid, but liver spots are no picnic.
Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen.

Motherhood Uncensored | 4:40 PM

I was JUST watching old video of Q and I realized how fucking fast it went. I don't even remember it. Honestly. I just can't believe it. I wanted to forget so much of it because it was so hard and now I wish I had drunk every last sip.

Everything is so fresh and exciting for them. It's amazing to see the canvas being painted.

And anonymous -- sunscreen? seriously, do you work for coppertone?

Anonymous | 9:38 PM

I loathed my freckles, and then they disappeared, and I missed them.

I loved this post.

christina | 12:37 PM

I think this is my favorite post you've ever written. I mostly lurk and read--but this was so sweet, so refreshing and different of a take on freckles that I just had to comment. Love your writing!

kittenpie | 5:11 PM

I recently noticed two little freckles or moles tucked into pumpkinpie's hairline, where I know none existed back in the days when she had much less hair. It is strange to think of how these things can just spring up from below. I am much bespeckled myself, and yet I always thought they just were, from when I came to be.

(I had a friend who used to sing the "connect the dots" song from Pee-Wee's Playhouse to me because I am so covered, and she, her arms and legs tan with her Asian heritage, had none. She found them funny.)

Sarahviz | 7:34 PM

Ooof. This one hit me. I come from a moley family. My two littlest boyz just got some spots this summer. Middle has one on his toe that I tease him is his "dirt" spot. And Baby. Baby's now got one on the little patch of skin under his nose between his nostrils.
Precious and priceless.

Althea | 6:07 AM

Okay, I know I am WAY late on this, but I've got Orion's belt and a perfect triangle on my forearm.
Freckles. Awesome.