Evie and I were swimming in the pool (or rather I was swimming and she was receiving a “dolphin-back ride”), when I heard something large buzzing around my head.
“Is there something buzzing around us?” I asked Evie. “I can’t see it.” “Yeah,” she said, “A big bee.”
I started swimming away from the corner of the pool, but it’s hard to move very fast with a kid hugging your windpipe like it’s her favorite teddy.
“Is it still around us?” I asked, not hearing it anymore. With Spock-like calmness she replied, “It’s on my head. It’s stinging me.”
Just about then I reached a shallow enough part of the pool where I could stand up. I took her off my back and she was as calm and still as could be. Later she told me, “I was thinking, it’s stinging me. Is this what stinging feels like? Why does everybody make such a fuss about it?”
Fortunately for her, I discovered it was not actually a bee on her head. Unfortunately for her, it was a horsefly the size of a silver dollar, and it was positively burrowing into her skull.
I’m sure that a bee sting would have been worse, but there is something absolutely, revoltingly, primally, abhorrent about seeing a giant insect burrowing into your daughter. I shudder even to remember it now. My first reaction was just to pull her under water (which I luckily didn’t do, because I’m quite sure she would take giant biting insects over a surprise dunk in the pool any day of the week), or just get her away from that thing as fast as humanly possible. I actually don’t even remember what I did, maybe flicked it off? And then ran in the other direction? I don’t know.
By the time I got her safely to the shallow end, there was a lot of blood. I quite brilliantly said, “Ohmygoshthere’salotofblood!” It was only at this point that she started to cry.
Now obviously, at the end of the day, all was well. However, as I reflected back on the whole thing I was completely floored by how brave she had been. Thinking that a bee was stinging her repeatedly in the head, she absolutely did what we’ve always told her to do: she stayed still and calm, trusting that startling it would only make things worse. She didn’t panic, she kept her head, and if only it *had* been a bee, she probably would have been fine. Keeping your head in a crisis is a fine trait to have, it’s just unfortunate that it was a horsefly intent on FEASTING ON THE BLOOD OF THE INNOCENT.
Someone wise once said, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Clearly, this one’s jedi training is coming along smashingly.