Yesterday I decided I would do some weeding. After breakfast I announced my intentions to my entourage and invited them to accompany me. The planting beds out front are a weedy mess composed of deer mangled azaleas, stunted rhododendrons, peonies and a couple of trees. If the kids want to help, their instructions would be simple: if it is not a bush or a tree, pull it out.
It wasn’t too hot, yet and we were making headway. Jake and Nate grew bored with conventional weeding and decided to remove the dead branches from Chinese Maple. It is the only climbable tree on our property and they love to sit in its branches. They would get to combine climbing with helping mommy! Max and Rebecca, meanwhile, milled about at the base of the tree. They were about 20 feet away from where I was.
As I squatted in the dirt I noticed a pair of yellow jackets* buzzing nearby. I quickly stood up, but hesitated in where to go. I did not want to blunder into their nest. One swooped near me and hovered near my foot. I cautiously moved back, but it persisted. Then it struck. Leaping back I erupted into a high pitched staccato burst of “ow, ow, ow, ow.” (Nate commented later that I sounded like a dog barking.) The kids looked up from their endeavors and watched my antics in amazement. I was frantically removing my shoes and socks while hopping about in the driveway and softly muttering various oaths.
They asked me what was happening and I said a wasp had just bit me and continued hopping about. Jake stared at me and said, in a slightly exasperated tone, “Mom, it’s just a bug.”
I have tried to be blasé when my children are injured. I find it helps cut down the drama. I was just given a dose of my own medicine.
I replied “Yes it is, but it bit me and it hurt.” In fact it hurt a lot.
After I announced my pain they were far more sympathetic to my plight.
About 15 minutes later I cautiously returned to the garden. I was glad the children had not been any closer. The two yellow jackets were still lurking about. I marked the bush that they crawled into and decided I should avoid that spot from now on.
The rest of the weeding went without incident.
I never did like to weed. Maybe this is a sign that I shouldn’t do it anymore.
* Best line in the article: “Caution: insects trapped indoors may be irritated and can sting.”