My foster father keeps bee's. When I lived with my foster parents in Cedar Rapids IA I remember seeing some of the hives but I was at an age where I was pretty self consumed and parents were just not "cool", so I don't think that I showed much interest in his hives but today Jasmine and I were able to really get a close up of my dad's beautifully intriguing love for Bee's.
Jasmine went first as I was busy getting Littlest ready for the rest of our day. So Justin actually went with Jasmine and Augie (my foster father, my Dad).
Augie helped Jasmine get into her protective suit so that she couldn't get stung.
Jasmine's new bee keeper fashion attire was topped off with a hat and some spiffy arm length gloves.
To calm the little stingers a light amount of smoke was used before getting into the hives.
I was told that Jasmine was pretty interested in the hives and that there was only one moment of small panic on her behalf. I was pretty impressed and even more proud.
And then it was my turn.
I don't think that I have ever really mentioned my fear of bees before, so let me just add for the record, I am insanely afraid of bees. However, today I didn't feel fear. I was calm and my heart was at peace, pumping with its normal rhythmical beats.
Today, I was with someone who choose to call me his daughter. Who loved me unconditionally and not because he had to but because he wants to. Sharing this moment with him, with my dad and getting to see a passion of his in an up close an personal way, was an experience I will forever treasure as well as be grateful for.
This next part may read as a little strange but its a difficult thing to put into words and I have to go back a little before I can explain...
I grew up with my biological mother until I was in mid second or mid third grade, around that time I was taken out of her custody due to her being extremely mentally ill and incapable of caring for me in a healthy way. I was moved around a lot beginning with temporarily being placed with my grand parents who were my mothers parents. Real placements like foster homes and residential treatment centers followed shortly after. I was in and out of my mothers care a few times before I turned sixteen and by that time I had been in over forty different placements. Somewhere in this time I met Suzan and Augie. They showed up at a treatment center in Cedar Rapids on a volunteer basis. At first it was just Suzan and she played the role that one of those big brother/big sister might play. We often went out for ice cream in the beginning and then became close pals. Suzan and Augie followed me from placement to placement being the only consistent "family" that I knew. Eventually, when the time came they became foster parents so that I could live with them and I did, live with them but my stay was short lived and after about six weeks I was moved into another placement but by my own fault and nothing to do with them. Yet for some reason, even with my faults and the pain that I caused I still get to be here today with them and we still call each other family.
Jumping back to today, with Augie and his bees...
I didn't feel even the slightest bit of fear for what I was about to do. As Augie was helping me put on my protective suit Justin kept asking if I was doing okay. He would go back and forth between saying things like how proud he was of me and how he couldn't believe that I was doing what I was about to do. Inside I was calm and it was until this moment as I sit her writing all of this all out for anyone and everyone to read that I realized why I was so calm.
As Augie helped me into my suit, secured my hat and then helped slip on my gloves I was finally having needs met that I longed for as a child. I had a father protecting me from harm, caring for my well being and loving me. I felt safe.
Some of you just read that and more than likely rolled your eyes. Your probably thinking that I am some eccentric drama queen and that it was only bee's and you know what, that's okay. I don't expect anyone to get it but that moment was healing to me.
Something else came from this experience. Jasmine (and Kiliegh sometime this week) have a memory with "Grandpa Augie" a family member from my side. Its something that I cant give them much of but the ones that that they are getting this week will help fill in the void that's there, even if its only a void that I feel.
Ive walked by the bee hives, on my own, three times since I went with Augie. I have stayed on the path that's there, paying special attention so that I didn't disturb them but still getting closer than I normally ever would have done in the not so distant past. Im not afraid of these bees (not that I would know the difference between these bees and the ones flying ten feet away) and I would like to think that its because these bees are my dad's bees and they have a significance far beyond pollinating and making honey.