• Patty Ihm

The Best of Me


A shadow flashed across the road ahead of me. As the light changed and I moved through the intersection, there it was: frozen, small against the dusky sky, standing in the front yard of a home near the center of town. It had made it to the other side. For now, the displaced deer was safe.


It all seems to be a leap of faith...headlong into the unknown, even sometimes with our eyes open wide.


The comforting hands of my son's elementary school teachers no longer guide him to class. He's a big sixth grader now, and the expectations are high. There are no more nods of approval. The anxiety, the behaviors, the missing assignments, and the harsh words spill forth to rival the jumble of broken pencils, splitting spiral notebooks, headphone wires, and cereal bar wrappers emptied out of his backpack onto the mudroom floor. I'm not going to let it get the best of me.


I didn't really want him to do wrestling. After twenty-something years of being a baseball mom, I was intimidated at the prospect of teenage-ish boys wearing nylon suits rolling around on mats...perhaps sharing strep throat, or ringworm, or worse. He was sure, though, and his buddy was joining as well.


The tiny toddler who narrowly avoided a feeding tube is now a strong and determined twelve-year-old. I have to pack the crackers and oranges, make sure the nylon suit (which is apparently called a "singlet") is in the wrestling bag, open the car door, and hope I am not throwing him to the wolves. I can't let the worry get the best of me.


I walked through the fresh-fallen snow in the early morning. Just as on the days that have gone before, I pushed my ear against the sides of my hives. There is immediate comfort and relief at the hum of the cluster inside: evidence of life in the hive. For this day, my bees are vibrant and alive. I have worried through many nights of high winds and flying snow, hoping that I might find my hives still standing at sunrise. So far, the bees are fine. I can't let the fear get the best of me.


Fevers and quarantine have kept our son from wrestling. Some days, there has been nobody for him to wrestle in his weight class. After a series of byes at this weekend's meet, he did finally get his turn on the mat. He didn't win his matches that day, but he earned a medal in his weight class which made him happy. There he sat in that singlet, flashing a weary smile. He didn't let it get the best of him.


So much is far from our reach and out of our control; these days that sentiment is further compounded. I'm a deer in the headlights, just hoping to make it to the other side. As I cheer on my worker bees, crossing my fingers that I have done right by them and left them the resources that they need to survive the rest of the winter, I am struck by the realization that these days are orchestrated by something much bigger than me. I think of my big kids, off to their own rhythms, and the little ones still here, guiding mine, and I know that they, truly, are the best of me.










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