Yesterday something terrifying happened, and I completely freaked out… I automatically went into fight or flight mode.
First a short backstory: Growing up I wasn’t really afraid of spiders. We had chicken houses; so it was nothing to have a spider crawl on you once in a while.
Fast-forward to my first summer home from college: My parents had moved during my freshman year to a different house. The new house was smaller, only three bedrooms, which meant my parents got a bedroom and both of my brothers had their own bedroom. Since I was just home for the summer, they made the back porch into a room for me for the summer. The porch was enclosed. There was a blanket hanging up to separate my area from the rest of the porch, which had the washer, dryer, freezer, and animal food. It worked. I didn’t need much space; I was only staying for a couple of months. However, the spiders were horrible. There were these nasty, big brown spiders – I still do not know what type they were. It was a repeating occurrence for me to find a spider in my bed, and to even wake up with a spider bite. Naturally, I became afraid of spiders.
The fear of spiders continued, even after I moved in with my ex-husband. I would see spiders when I was half-asleep and completely freak out. He’d laugh and say there are no spiders.
Five years ago, I bought my own house. It was being used as a rental property. No one had lived in the house for nine months. So, naturally there were a lot of spiders including a tarantula and wolf spiders.
The tarantula was scary. Luckily, it was outside on the wall and not inside the house. Also, luckily that one tarantula was the only one I ever found in my house.
The wolf spiders are a completely different story. There are still wolf spiders.
Now, back to yesterday’s story: my daughter was folding her clothes and she let out a small scream. She said there was a spider. She grabbed a shoe and killed it. End of story, right? Not with my kid… She then grabbed a fly swatter and placed the (unknown to me that it was dead) spider onto it and started to head my direction. I was in the process of cooking. Most of the food was done, I was just waiting for something in the oven to finish. So, I was sitting in the living room scrolling on Facebook waiting for the timer to go off. I seen my daughter in the corner of my eye, but it did not dawn on me exactly what she was doing. She stopped in front of me, maybe about two feet in front of me. Stretch out her arm and the fly swatter, and said “what kind of spider is this?”
Panic sat in. I just knew there was a spider right in front of my face. I did not know if it was alive or dead. How well was it placed on that fly swatter? Was it on the very edge, ready to fall off at any moment? Was it more secure in the center? I didn’t know, and I didn’t care. I freaked.
I went into fight or flight mode. Flight was what took over. I screamed “what are you doing?!?!” I flew out of my seat. In this process, my scream and reaction scared my kid. I am usually very calm and cool. I don’t scream or yell at my kid. So, she was not expecting me to scream. In reaction to my reaction, she screamed and jumped. Her scream caused the dog to take off running. Her jumping caused the spider to fly off of the fly swatter and land in an unknown location.
I am still in flight mode, but fight mode is starting to take over.
I ask “What are you doing bringing a spider to me and putting it in my face like that?”
She said “It was dead.”
“I don’t care! I was not ready for that!!”
She said “You seen me walking towards you!”
“I didn’t realize you were bringing me a spider!!”
“It was dead.” She continued to repeat.
By this time, the dog is hiding in another room. I am trying to calm down and explain to my daughter how she should have approached the situation: asking for me to come to her to identify the spider instead of blindsiding me with it. She is in tears and saying I was mean because I scared her. We still can not find where the spider landed during all of this.
“What kind of spider do you think it was? What did it look like?” I asked.
“I think it was wolf spider.”
We of course have to find it, even if it is dead it still has fangs. The challenge? My house has brown carpet. Well, wolf spiders are brown. It is hard to find a dead spider on a brown carpet when in reality you do not have a clue how far away did it fly.
By this time, the timer for food is going off. I am in the kitchen trying to get plates made. My house is completely open, so you can see from the kitchen into the living room since there are no walls. My kid is not even looking for the spider. She is crying and looking at me like I am this horrible person. Honestly, I felt like a horrible person – letting my fear take over like that and yelling at my kid and freaking her out too.
I tell her dinner is ready, she needs to find that spider so we can eat. I then see her take the fly swatter and brush something out of the chair I’d been sitting in.
“That spider landed in my chair, didn’t it?”
At least the spider was found. I’m honestly surprised I did not dream about spiders last night.