One of our greatest Shabbos afternoon pastimes is looking at old photo albums. I am a bit obsessive about printing and album-ing all my pictures – but come Shabbos afternoon, it’s all worth it. True, there’s four albums of my oldest child from ages 0-6 months, and the next four albums span 2 years, but there’s more than enough photos of everyone.
Today we looked at our most recent summer albums. OK, I admit it. We did end up going on a #memoriesthatlastalifetime trip this past summer. The pictures prove it. One of them is my favorite. A real pat-on-the-back picture perfect moment.
We are on a boat. My husband is driving. The kids are sitting with their life jackets on, broad smiles on their faces. The water in the background is sparkling blue. The mountains are pristine. The sky is spectacular. It is truly perfect.
Only I know what is not in the picture.
Here’s what really happened:
We took a three day getaway – up to South Lake Tahoe. Unbeknownst to us, there seems to have been a bee problem there this past summer. For those who are worried about bees becoming extinct, go visit Lake Tahoe. That’s where they are hanging out. I mean ALL the bees of the world. At least that’s what it felt like to me.
I know, I should be more grateful to the bees. From my limited research (and ignorance), I know we owe much of our life and survival to bees. But I still hate them. Apparently my kids inherited that particular gene.
And there they were, ruining our trip. On day number three, we were going to head home in the afternoon and decided to take the kids on a boat ride.
We pull up to the marina and get out of the van. And there they are. A gazillion bees. My kids start screaming and run in all directions, pushing and shoving to get back into the van.
My husband goes off to rent the boat and me the brave one convinces the kids to get out.
“Just keep walking, they won’t touch you if you keep walking!” I keep reminding them.
And I hope my theory is true.
We make our way to the marina. They have these tents made of netting set up along the sand for people to wait in, to keep safe from the bees. Causing quite a commotion, we all push our way through the little zipper opening, me trying to act like an adult and the kids acting like kids, hoping to stay safe from the bees.
We zip that thing shut as if we are escaping from the scariest of monsters. The bees buzz furiously all around the zipper to no avail; we are safe. For now at least.
The kids are freaking out and I want to go home too. Only the almost-two year old is enjoying himself, pouring sand over his head.
My husband heads towards us with the life jackets and it’s time to go. Everyone starts panicking all over again.
I know we are making #memoriesthatlastalifetime, but not the ones I had in mind.
He motions to us to come get the life jackets. The kids refuse to come out. I try to get them out but it’s pretty hard when I myself want to stay in the safety of our cozy little mesh tent.
I open the zipper and direct the kids to get out and just head to the boat.
And then things really get hectic.
Half the kids run down the dock – not very safely at all – simultaneously haphazardly putting on their life jackets.
I’m trying to get the little one strapped into the carriage while the bees buzz all over.
One of the kids start screaming from a bee sting.
And one is rooted to his spot screaming at the top of his lungs because the bees are all around him.
I concentrate very hard on ignoring the stares from all across the marina, as I can only imagine what a spectacle this is. And if it was someone else’s nutty family, I would think it it was hilarious. Maybe even inconspicuously take a video of the scene.
But I don’t have that luxury; it’s my crew and I have to get moving.
I’m shouting from the dock for my rooted-to-the-spot five year old to come, the guy from the rental is dealing with the bee sting, my husband is getting the kids settled on the boat while they scream they want to go home and the toddler in the carriage starts yelling too.
I don’t know how, but miraculously we all safely get onto our little boat and speed off to the middle of the lake, where as promised, the bees are gone.
We relax and take picture perfect photos and each kid has a chance to steer the boat. Bluest of skies, bluest of waters, it is picturesque. The stuff that photos are made of.
I admit, sometimes as I scroll through my Facebook feed,I wish other people’s photos would just whisper and tell us what really went on.
Now looking at the pictures, printed and safely displayed in my albums, I marvel at how perfect it looks. What great memories we made. The kids talk about our trip non stop, and how much fun it was. And I quietly sigh with relief that pictures can’t talk after all.