I am seriously afraid of spiders. I don’t care what kind, size or color. My fear is so bad, that I am scared of dead spiders as well. Yes, I know that is crazy. My husband gets mad at me about this all the time. But even if one is crunched up in a corner dead from a 3 minute spray of Raid, I am still highly afraid of it!
I remember being young and spotting an eight legged freak on the wall and the instant increase of my heartbeat. The immediate fear that would come over me was, and still is, overwhelming. I would call for my dad to please come and kill this living intrusion in my peaceful oasis. But you would have to know my dad. He does nothing at a speed other than what benefits him. I’m sure there is no need to state that killing a spider never meant much to him. So he would take his time. Nope, no kind of “father to the rescue” plans on his agenda. No brownie points for his baby girl to tack on her wall. He’d get there when he got there. This could mean my waiting for a good and full 10 minutes before I would hear the springs of his mattress squeal announcing that he was getting up. And mind you, that didn’t always mean he was coming straight to me. He would maybe take a bathroom break first or check the weather outside the window. All of this while my eyes are glued to the spider having a field trip on my ceiling. I can’t even tell you the stress of watching this nasty little bug crawling all over the place while waiting for my dad to finally come and kill it. The responsibility I had to track it’s every movement until he arrived. I couldn’t walk out and leave it behind. I had to tell my dad exactly where it was so he could get rid of it. So I was stuck in there with it. Watching its every move. When my dad would finally come, I could point to it and finally make my exit to safety. Relieved finally that it was all over. Unless I would hear the words: “I lost ‘im”. Or: “That one got away.” Then came a night of no sleep wondering if it would come to attack me for trying to have it assassinated.
My daughter knows none of this. I am trying my hardest to raise her not to be scared of spiders. Any bugs or critters for that matter. And so far she is not. She has surprisingly picked up dead spiders from our basement when we go down there to watch a movie. “Ugh” she says. “There’s a spider. I’ll get it.” And she struts right into the bathroom to get tissue to pick it up and throw it away. I am amazed at this. Amazed that I’ve kept my fear hidden enough to produce this courage in my kid. But with this comes a funny little caveat. My daughter is still very young. Too young, obviously, to verbalize the difference between spiders and other bugs. So when when my hands are full of groceries that I’m bringing from the garage, she says: “there’s a spider” or I’m driving in the car on the freeway doing 65 miles an hour is when she yells out: “it’s a spider on you, mommy”. Not knowing the absolute terror she is befalling upon me in her lack of differentiating between a spider and say an ant! Or a spider and a fly. A spider and any hybrid of bugs that fly around! To her, every bug is a spider! And she is giving me mini heart-attacks weekly by yelling at me my worst phobia!
Her lack of anxiety from them, causes her to be so relaxed about their presence. Whereas this is what I want for her, it is definitely not what I want for myself! I need everyone to be on high alert with weapons drawn at the sight of a spider. But there is no way for me to have that and still keep my daughter ignorant of my dread. I would hate for her to learn to fear spiders now after she’s shown such courage against them. So my fear has to be hidden. My sweaty armpits at the mention of a spider has to be explained as a hot flash. I have to keep the high pitched volume (that signifies distress) of my voice low when calling for my husband to come and dispose of one on the ceiling. Pretend it’s because dad is taller than me that I have to get him to come and help.
I look forward to the time when her courage against the diabolic arachnid will be solidified and I no longer have to hide my fear. I can call for her to come and kill them and not be embarrassed by the high pitched yell. And in the meantime, just pray that she is always mistaken about the “spiders” we encounter day to day!