With the emergence of the sun, finally showing through the cloudy sky, our little family has been feverishly preparing our business for the summer tourist season.
Last week I continued working on the new building while I allowed the girls to tag along and pretty much hang out and play while occasionally grabbing a hammer or pain brush to assist. The day was going great. I worked, while having the opportunity to listen to the joyful ramblings of my children outside the door as they played, giggled, and competed. Realistically, a joyful noise was not exactly what I was hearing. Anyone with young children fully understands that although possessing a deep love for their siblings, children tend to spend very little time “joyfully conversing,” rather, the time is filled with arguing, fighting, and multi-faceted discourse.
Without notice, my youngest burst through the single, old style, glass door. Franticly, she described that she was minding her own business, talking to a rather large bumblebee when out of nowhere, her elder sister rushed up, striking the bee with her foot, sending it to the happy pollinating lands in the sky. In a state of disbelief, Riyann told me she just couldn’t believe her sister killed the bee. Looking towards Lilli, she simply shrugged her shoulders and looked off with the apparent purpose to communicate, “yeah…. I did it…. Oh well”. Finding it inconsequential, I simply described to Riyann that I was sure her sister was merely attempting to protect her.
Not accepting my response, Riyann insisted that I go along with her so I could see the corpse of the bumblebee. Reluctantly, I agreed and as I exited the doorway, Riyann ensured that she told me the story a third time. As I turned to empathize with the child, I began seeing the very scene which as a parent we fear. Watching, in slow motion, our child get hurt while not having an ability to intercede quick enough is hard on a dad. As I looked, I saw the door close with Riy’s hand in the frame pinning her fingers. Quickly I pushed the door and dislodged her hand. As she cried in pain, I had not option other than doing what I do best, I held her tight and attempted to ease her suffering.
As we dealt with the pain of a pinched finger, Riyann, angrily shouted a series of words which to be honest, made it difficult not to laugh. “What’s up with Karma? It was Lilli that killed the bee,” she yelled. She went on to described that she simply didn’t understand. She revealed that she was the kind one and yet she was the one who always got hurt… “it just isn’t right.” As we comforted her, and she began feeling better we decided that our work was done for the day, and it would be best to head home.
While driving, I thought about the fact that no matter how hard we work in life, sometimes bad things happen, leaving us with confusion about what we could have done differently to avoid heartache. It just doesn’t seem fair. Hard work includes bumps and bruises but one thing I know for sure is that through those hurts, we find that our pain many times fosters success and wisdom in the face of adversity. Don’t be afraid to work hard at achieving our goals my friends, keeping everything in its right perspective. Put aside the bumps and bruises and simply enjoy talking to the bees.
Richard J. Stephens lives in Carter County and is the father of three little ladies ranging in age from eight to 29.