I HATE spiders. They're so disgusting and creepy and freaky and gnarly and I can't stand them. They scare the bejeezus out of me, and yeah yeah yeah, I know they are tiny creatures who are more scared of us than we are of them, but a phobia is a phobia, people. Reason doesn't come into play there.
All my life, as soon as I've seen a spider in my house, it's been squashed and tossed. I can't leave them be because I have horrid visions of it making its way to my bed and crawling on me in my sleep oh jesus I am freaking out just writing that. *SHUDDER*
Well. Last night, I was getting into the shower and I saw a big ugly brown fucker at the top of the bathroom wall. It was out of reach, so I figured it would probably come down while I was in the shower and I'd squash it then. After the shower, I saw that it was in reach above the light switch and thought oh yeah you creepy disgusting bitch, you're going down.
But something registered in my murderous brain and I looked again at the spider. Then I looked up where I had last seen it and it hit me: There were two spiders. OhGodohGodohGod UGGGHHHH. But something made me look at the second spider a little closer and I realized that it was a baby spider, and it was learning how to "walk". It was putting out its two front legs and feeling spastically around before trusting itself enough to get a grip and move forward. And occasionally it would lose its grasp and tumble a bit, but would always catch itself and start over.
And the other disgusting spider, the giant one, must have been mom (or dad) because it waited patiently at the top of the next wall for baby to make its way up to her. And it was odd: mom would stay in one place but was moving her legs all around, and occasionally would wiggle the butt part of her body. I assume she was somehow communicating with the baby spider. It was oddly fascinating. And as I stood there and watched this for several minutes, I found myself making a few mental transitions.
The first was, I can't kill the baby in front of the mom. That's just horrific. So I'll wait for the mom to come down, smash her first, then take out the baby.
Then I watched them a little more, and I found myself actually cheering on the baby. With each tumble, I mentally rooted for it to recover. When it reached the corner and needed to cross over to the other wall, I was curious as to whether or not it was going to make it or fall down, and rooted for it to cross successfully. When it did, I actually smiled and felt proud of the disgusting little fucker.
And I realized that for the first time in my life, I couldn't kill the spiders. I had totally humanized them while watching the baby learn to walk. Or maybe not have humanized them, but my own experiences at watching my babies grow and learn allowed me to relate to the situation and relationship I was witnessing, and prevented me from killing them. It was just some mom watching her baby learn how to make its way through life, sending encouragement and patiently waiting for it to succeed.
After realizing that I couldn't kill them, I thought about what to do with them. I didn't really want to leave them, but the alternative was to try and catch them to throw them outside.
Fuck that. My compassion extended to letting them live and that's where it ended. No way in hell was I going to touch them, or risk touching them by a trapping gone bad. Because the second one of those creepers touched my skin, I know I would flip the hell out and smash it to smithereens, and then have to spend ten minutes un-creeping myself out and smacking at my skin and hair while shuddering uncontrollably.
So I left them. They were gone this morning; I don't know where they went and I don't want to think about it. But I'm adding this to the little scorecard I keep in my head that tallies the ways motherhood has changed me.