Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spending Time with Bees and Women

Well, it looks as though I may not be able to acquire any honey bees for my hive until next year, so we will have to make do with native bees and bumble bees. We do have a huge number of bumbles, and at the moment they are enjoying the flowering multiplying onions:

However, today I enjoyed a wonderful couple of hours helping and learning from a Raglan beekeeper, who was splitting her hive, using a purchased queen cell. While at the Hamilton bee club meeting on Thursday night, I heard her say that she planned to do this today, and so I plucked up courage and asked if I could help / observe. Amazing though it may seem to those who know me as a loud, in your face sort of person, I do in fact find it incredibly difficult to talk to people in situations where I know few others. For the past 28 years I have made myself talk to strangers (and do all kinds of things I would not have otherwise done) for the sake of my children. Now my 'baby' has gone (he went flatting in Hamilton two weeks ago) and I realise that if I do not wish to spend my days doing mundane chores in boring silence, I have to learn to talk to strangers for my own benefit.

So, I asked B if I could help her, and she agreed. I had a wonderful morning. I used the smoker to calm the bees. I helped lift boxes off and on to the hive. She showed me where the brood was, the honey, the pollen, and pointed out the different types of bees. And I wasn't scared for a moment - I didn't even think of being scared until afterwards when B commented on how calm I'd been! We agreed that I will go back and help when she is doing her bees, which will be a great way to learn, and whenever I do get my own bees, I will feel way more comfortable.

Afterwards we went into her house for a cup of tea, and the first thing I saw was a book of poetry - my favourite book of my favourite kiwi poet! The Art of Walking Upright by Glen Colquhoun.

First bees brought an old friend back into my life decades after losing touch, and now the bees have brought another interesting woman into my life. Perhaps there really might be life after children.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Week one of the next stage

Well, it is a week since Jeff moved out of our home and I remain bereft. Loading his belongings into the van, and onto the trailer was horrible; unloading them was worse. Jeff, Simon and Rebecca were oozing excitement at as they claimed their own space; Mac and I didn't stay to help beyond getting Jeff's stuff in place. We headed off to do a couple of chores, then to the new cafe at Hamilton Lake for lunch, and eventually home to our empty house.

We were both feeling very sad: not just that Jeff was gone, but because suddenly we both had to face up to the fact that a part of our life - perhaps the very best part - was at an end. I thought it would be just me that felt like that, but it is Mac too. Eventually I went and dusted and swept and mopped until Jeff's room was tidy and clean in what seems a most unnatural way. I keep that door closed now too, along with Simon's and Steven's doors. It's too hard to pass by and glance in at their empty rooms.

I know that many of my friends have far worse things happening in their lives, yet this emptiness and and loss of meaning and purpose is so hard. I have spent twenty nine years mothering my boys into independence and to venture forth into the world as young adults - and damn! it appears I have succeeded! Part of me is glad and proud that they have all made it, and that's the part of me that I need to encourage, I guess.

So, to keep myself busy in ways that don't allow me to think too much has been important this week. On Monday, as usual, I worked at Trade Aid for a few hours. Mac had the day off to do some work on our house, so I wasn't alone when I got home.

On Tuesday night I met Mac after work and we ate out at an Indian restaurant (mmmmmm mango lassi) before going to a talk at the university about climate change and its implications for the way we live.

On Wednesday I visited a friend and played Connect Five and Cluedo with her and hertwo beautiful children - that was so much fun, I miss our homeschool game playing days so much - before going and getting a hair cut.

On Thursday I helped a friend move her husband out of their house and into a flat. Despite the sadness, it was good for me to spend time with friends, and keep busy. Afterwards I came home and mowed grass that has not been mowed all winter - some was nearly half a meter long! So the next thing was a long soak in the bath with lavender oil, Trade Aid chocolate and a book.

Friday - I was home alone all day until Mac got home.

It's not really much different from how I could have described most weeks this year, with Jeff away most days at university: it's the knowledge that he won't be home later that makes each day so empty.

But last night Steve and Heidi came to stay and we watched a movie. Heidi left about 2pm today, and I took Steve into Hamilton to meet up with her again after dinner. This morning Simon came out to work on his car with Mac, and stayed into the evening a while. I was so lovely to have them here, especially today, this first weekend after our youngest son moved out. It helped me realise that although Jeff's departure was the end of a part of our lives, it is not the end of it all. I have to learn to relish these happy moments, and to use the memories and the anticipation to get me through the other times.