Thursday, March 13, 2008

To all the berries I have loved

Postdated Octoberish 2007

I had a fantastic story that I could not wait to blog yesterday.

We went to pick raspberries; my daughter, myself, and a sweet young girl I look after named Bethany [chees'n here with her sister]. We got to the field and geared up to produce cartons full of sweet berries and fingers stained red and numb from the tiny thorns.

You must understand, I love picking berries. It is one of my most favorite things. Cue examples:

I used to pick them as a child near the creek by my grandma's house. I'd spend hours down there [and usually come home with an empty container because they tasted too good to gather].

When I was ten we moved to this huge house in a tiny town in Virginia. One of the perks was the large tame blackberry bushes growing not 20 feet from the door. It produced the biggest, sweetest berries I have to this day ever tasted [except for the ones I buy at Sam's Club, randomly] and was completely thorn free.

Every summer my mom and dad and I would drive to the Omish village where we were immersed in endless fields of strawberries.

While pregnant with my daughter I lived with her father's mother for a short time. I used to walk to the woods near the house and before long I would stumble upon lots of luscious [you don't want to know how long it took me to remember how to spell that - lushess? lushious? lussus?] berries. Yes, at one point in my life i was a wood-wandering, berry-picking teenage mom. Random, right?

And the surrounding forests of every place I've ever called home has been thoroughly examined for wild berries.

For years I had this fantasy that someday my whole family would create a fabulous tradition of gathering berries, complete with mason jars and scrumptious jam.

Alas [and a deep sigh].

I will probably [and most definitely hopefully] marry my current boyfriend, Jermaine. And though I love him something terrible; he calls me country and claims to want no part of the berry picking fun. So I am forced to cultivate my love of berry picking in my little one all by myself. But, that's not so bad, mother/daughter bonding never is.

So, yesterday we went to Butler's Orchard, and the entire outing was delicious. Even, it turns out, this next part coming up.

I hate bees. With a passion. You could probably replace the word "hate" with "am irrationally afraid of." I wouldn't say it's a phobia, but I'd probably be wrong.

We entered the field and began to fill our baskets. Suddenly, I became very aware that we were not alone. I've heard it said that bumblebees don't sting you. I don't buy it.

But, I'm supposed to be the adult, right? I can't go around whimpering, frozen in fear. What sort of example would that set? I must be brave! I must push past this anxiety and focus on the berries. After all, I reasoned with myself, they were worth it [the berries, I mean, but the kids are worth it, too].

I've also made it a point to not show irrational fear in front of my daughter whenever possible. It's a good rule of thumb.

We're going along and it's going well. It seems my love for this particular fruit is stronger than my fear of horrible stinging insects. Then, Sadie, my daughter, let out a gasp. I looked over as she bravely and stupidly swatted a bee away.

"Don't make sudden movements like that. " I said, "Just ignore them and they won't bother you."

"What does "ignore" mean?" She wanted to know.

"It means to pretend they aren't there." Chimed Bethany. "And, I have to be extra careful. Because if I get stung I have to go to the hospital."

"You're allergic?" I asked.

"Yep," she answered.

Everytime I have ever disclosed to anyone my fear they have inevitably asked me, "Oh, you're allergic?" No, I always reply, but getting stung hurts. Is that not enough?

But, now, seeing this brave little girl, I realize that no, it's not enough. I am inspired. And a little scared for her. But if she can stand in this field and not be terrified, good grief, so can I.

Afterwards, while driving home, I praised her for her braveness and explained that she'd helped me to get over my fear. She began to laugh.

"What is it that is so funny?" I asked.

"I've just never seen a grownup scared of bees." She giggled. Sadie joined her and the backseat lit up with a flurry of laughter.

What do you say to that? Out of the mouths of babes . . .

And then, later, her mom told me that she'd lied. She had not, in fact, ever been stung. She had to call me and apologize for lying.

[Oh, I've been there. I stole my friend Amy's NKOTB watch in 4th grade.I told my mom Amy gave it to me, but she knew better. She made me call and tell the dreaded truth. I sobbed as loud as I could and tried to slur my words so Amy would think I took it home on accident. Wow, I was a bad kid.]

And so last night I was left feeling a bit silly. I didn't blog my story. I felt bad for having gotten the child in trouble and also as if I'd been tricked into a false sense of braveness.

But this morning I woke up and thought, hey, I'm still not afraid of bees. I'm so glad Bethany lied to me.

This has not been much of a blog about my endeavor to lose the last ten pounds. I could have blogged of how I walked to school yesterday. And that I biked to Jermaine's house, which proved to be a lot harder than I thought it would be. How by doing those things I'm saving gas, and a trip to the gym and helping the environment. I could have also wrote out my daily intake, which I used to do every blog and probably wils still do from time to time. Yesterday it included a caramel apple, a Mexican pizza [that was delicious! [that I created myself!], a barbecue chicken pizza and a great deal of water [so please let go of the notion that I am starving myself].

I could have written of all of these things, but instead, I'd like to dedicate this blog to all the sweet juicy berries in my life. Well, and the special little girls.

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