Parents get a lot of crap, when kids turn into adults with problems. Every time I see a movie or read a memoir and the adult ends up in therapy, they are finding a source for their issues, and that source is almost always their parents. Although sometimes that might be the case, I feel like parents end up taking a lot of blame when no one else is willing to accept any responsibility.
But despite my views on that, today I found out that I actually am responsible for a new fear of Holden’s: bees. I am overly dramatic around bees. I have been stung exactly twice and it was two decades ago. My brother Chad stepped on a bees’ nest while we were picking blackberries and I remember the angry swarm that rose out of the ground. Chad and I ran and ran, but he ran faster and I ended up with two bee stings on my back.
When I made it back home, wailing, my mom told me to take off my shirt (which I remember being humiliated by) and lie on the couch and then she put ice on my back. I silently reveled in the attention while acting like the pain was unbearable. Maybe it was to me then, before having children or even having menstrual cramps. Maybe that was the worst pain imaginable to me – a bee sting (OK, two. Maybe my melodrama had some merit).
So for the last twenty years, I have ran shrieking from bees. I have freaked out whenever I heard buzzing, relieved sometimes when I discovered it was only a fly. I have screamed outside many times, “a bee!” while the kids are playing, blissfully unaware. And then I run around frantically, looking like some sort of mental patient trying to escape the ward.
When Brandon got two bee stings on his face a few weeks ago, he cried for only a moment or two, and I thought, is he tough or are bee stings really not that bad? But I quickly decided he is tough and bees are still scary as shit. Manic bee behavior resumed.
Today, when I was instructing Holden to eat his lunch, he ignored all my pleading, endlessly saying, “bee!” loudly and pointing at thin air. He started to panic after a few rounds of this when I didn’t let him out of his high chair or acknowledge what he was saying. Then he switched to saying, “out!” until I got the hint and let him out of his high chair.
I began cleaning the dishes and only then did I hear the buzzing myself. This time I was relieved to discover it was only a fly, but intermixed with my relief was the realization that I have passed a paranoia onto my baby. Oops, sorry kid. But I don’t plan to pay for your therapy bills, if you ever have them. I still have hopes that everything of greater importance will turn out alright.