As with most fears, there was a reason. It came from a childhood memory.
Her much- loved uncle raised honey bees on a farm not far from the family home, more like the family block. They were immigrants who stayed close, at least for a few generations.
When provoked, and sometimes when not, bees will sting.
It does hurt. But the pain will pass.
The fear of being stung does not.
It is real, and can be passed on to generations of children. All in the name of protection.
This is my mother in law’s story, recently discovered. It all makes sense, like most things we examine in retrospect.
Our children stayed with the in laws just a few times, mostly when we were moving from state to state, going on housing trips.
It took an effort, they lived hundreds of miles from us, so we transported the kids for several days in their care.
On one such occasion, my toddlers returned with a fear of bees. I should have understood why, but at the time, I was clueless.
I knew my husband had an exaggerated concern over getting stung, it was something I joked about, seeing a grown man swatting the air furiously to avoid a bee.
Suddenly, in my kids, it was no longer funny. Children are impressionable, it can take years to remove a fear that evolves in a matter of days.
I didn’t make the other connection, the dislike for honey. You’ll never find it in her home. For decades, I have brought my own honey for tea.
And if you are in the mood for sad, but beautiful, this signature piece from Tori Amos.