There was yesterday, sitting in the evening light chewing on dripping honeycomb fresh from the hive and feeling the breeze cool my sweat-soaked shirt. Sophia and I sat, half peeled-out of our bee suits, chewing wax and guzzling cold water, smiles on our faces. We had seen both queens; one which I helped the queen-less hive to raise by bringing in egg-laden frames from the strong hive, week after week. I was satisfied.
We’d been through a scare the evening before on a walk; Edison tripped and landed on his wrist awkwardly, causing great pain. A cast again, really? Just, please, no. I had him soak it in the cold stream. Returning home I wrapped it, tucking a steeped comfrey leaf (knit-bone herb) inside. If it still hurt the next day we’d take him in for x-rays.
All day yesterday he improved, using his arm more and more normally. This morning, he had no pain left at all. We ran some pre-trip errands and then the crazy started.
Three times as I worked at Mt. Ever-Laundry came piercing shouts and cries from my outdoors-romping boys. Reuben stubbed or broke his pinky while playing with a basketball. Hot tears and worst fears all over his dirty face. Ice pack, a homemade splint, taped digits, and googling of “difference between stubbed and broken”. Again the assurance that if it hurt the next day we’d take him in for x-rays and such.
Then the hollering panic of Edison with his first-ever bee sting. More ice, a dollop of lavender essential oil, then a paste of clay and lavender oil to dry it out. The cries subsided fast (thank you, lavender!), quickly replaced by what we call “jibber jabbering” (the non-stop talkathoning that excited children do) about bees, what their stingers look like, the possible motivation of the bee, etc. My ears nearly fell off.
I sprayed poo off of the cloth diaper, folded another load of laundry, put two meatloaves and potatoes in the oven, and started hacking away at heads of cauliflower and broccoli, willing the evening to wind down all nice and quiet. The aioli sauce filled the kitchen with garlic goodness, and supper was served amidst candles and a tenuous peace.
We set up a collapsible drafting table that we’d scored at Goodwill for $6 and laid out a puzzle on it, all pulling chairs up to the wide workspace, and tried to put the puzzle, and our day, back together. It was while I washed the dishes that the final screaming cry rattled through the wavy glass windows.
I found Edison sprawled across the sidewalk, having tripped over a log piece that has time and again been moved about the yard for “creative purposes”, and having landed directly upon the previously injured arm. I was about 30% compassion and 70% anger right about then, and it came out in my frustrated response: “Just what in the wide world do you think you’re doing? Do you want a cast? Can you please JUST STOP HURTING YOURSELF?!?”
His pitiful whine/cry/lament accelerated to a higher pitch and I gathered him up and hauled him into the kitchen which was feeling more like a triage unit. I washed away the dirt and examined his arm gently, though my face masked none of my irritation. Soaking, wrapping, clove tea for both boys to help them sleep and ease their pain. More cold cloths. More whispered prayers. One mama wrung clean out.
When Dustin arrived from his side job at eight, I motioned towards where he could find his supper and crashed into the couch to type out my day, to let it drain out my fingertips, right into the keyboard, and flung out to you, that you may commiserate with me. Or at least shake your head at me.
When Henrik cried out, having been awoken by Ed’s crying, I just told my husband, “I’m done. I’m. Just. Done.” He soothed him back to sleep and I sank deeper into the couch. There was today and today is closing like a chapter that a child rumpled and worried into crinkled pages and sticky spots. Tomorrow may find us getting casts on limbs right before we head to the beach, or awakening to healed pains and wiping those worries off of our foreheads. We’ll see, but it is just one bad day, and I can still breathe thanks to Him who saw it all and holds us all.