There is something about the notion of beekeeping that brings up stories of parenting. most of my friends don't keep bees (although that may be changing come spring) but most of them have been parents, and when I told them that our hives were dying out, they told me about their children. As it happens, caring for bees is very little like caring for children--there's not much hands-on involvement with bees, for one thing--but beekeeping and especially bee-losing do involve us in the complexity of our own feelings about responsibility and guilt. And sadness. When your hive dies out (especially if you only had one or two to start with) it burdens you with a sadness more intense and complicated than one would expect.
In fact, had I known how sad I would feel about losing my bees, there's a good chance I wouldn't have built an apiary at all.
Which probably brings us back to children, child-keeping and child-bearing. By the time I was old enough to think about having children, whatever urge to parent I might have had had pretty much evaporated. I'd worked with children and I like children as much as it's possible to say that truthfully, all children not being equal and some so distorted by their upbringing or their surroundings that it is impossible to like them. But, like many people who are glad their are bees and beekeepers, I didn't want to pursue motherhood. It looked like a bad bet, to me.
But children can be wonderful, although I suspect whether or not they are bearable comes down to the philosphical choices of their parents. And I know for a fact that some wonderful parents are sometimes brought low by children who for one reason or another don't develop a moral sensibility or who bring from their genetic past a leaning toward drugs or danger that the parents can't help and can't stop, no matter how good they are. One thing I have noticed about good parents is that, even when it isn't their fault, they question themselves, and they feel guilty. They say, "Maybe if I hadn't pushed him so hard," or "When I did X to her--I wonder if that's why she is today," and the "X" turns out to be something like, "sent her to a great school" or "let her play in the fresh air".