I cursed the grainy, waxy honey as I spooned it into my mug of tea. Cursed it, and then paused and took it all back. Gave thanks for the beekeeper who cared for the bees and harvested the honey, and for the company that chose to sell it to me in its natural state. Which means grainy, with wax throughout and bits of other detritus sprinkled across the top. I gave thanks for the glass jar, the spoon, the tea.
I'm ill, and pretty sure it's the flu because it started with fever and aches and breathing issues and a cough. Only today, three days in, did my nose get involved. My youngest has it too, which is unfair because no mother likes to see her child spend 72 hours straight with a fever, even we mothers who think fevers serve a purpose and don't try to reduce them unless the child can't sleep.
The honey was one of our last ditch efforts to manage this illness without medication. I gave up this morning, driving my sick self to the store to buy cough syrup even though the distance was bike-able. With cough medicine the child still coughs but no longer sounds like he is going to bring up a lung, or both lungs.
Still, the natural has its place. We've taken essential oil baths with epsom salts, soothing in their steaminess. We've sucked on many an all natural lozenge, we've rubbed on menthol salves from responsible companies, and we've consumed large quantities of Emergen-C and elderberry syrup. We've nearly drowned ourselves in herbal teas and fresh orange juice. We've had soup. We've rested and we've cancelled activities. And we bought honey.
I thought we were done with honey; we returned to a plant-based diet nearly two years ago and after awhile we decided that honey wasn't a must have. Maybe I wanted more credibility with the vegan crowd. I could bake and cook without honey, and it was easy enough to sweeten tea with something else (or to give up sweetening it altogether).
But then there was the cough, the mama can't sleep because child can't sleep cough. I trudged through the health food store a few days ago buying more tea, more lozenges, and yes, that precious jar of honey.
I wish it had worked, that magical substance of bees that is honey. Even still I am clinging to hope, having not succumbed to cough syrup yet myself. (I have, however, made best friends with my albuterol inhaler, neglected for nearly a year except for the occasional allergy induced asthma attack that threatens my very life.)
I am thankful today for honey, and illness, and even cough syrup. For a husband who pulled together than main meal while mama was in bed, and for the boy who is just coming down with it who did the dinner prep. I am thankful for forced slowness, for quiet, for care.