A Spider Threatening My Child Brought Out the Killer in Me

Image via Shutterstock

Image via Shutterstock


I love fall. I mean, I love it. I’m that crazy white girl who buys pumpkin spice yarn to knit a giant afghan I’ve been working on for five years that serves no purpose other than to make me feel cozy while leaves fall outside and wood fires burn. I sigh with heavenly contentment into my chai tea which is sweetened with cream and maple syrup that was tapped from trees in the northeastern part of the country, where the mountain views are dotted with the blazing colors of autumn. I only pick pumpkins when there’s a chill in the air, and I start serving cranberry sauce with everything.

Yes, I’m that girl.

Summer is okay, but fall is splendiferous. It is magnificent and awe inspiring. It is cable knit and corduroy, topped with a jaunty hat and accompanied by steaming liquids. It is everything I love about being human. It’s real clothes with darts and tailored corners, supple leathers and slouchy boots. It’s crunching underfoot the textures of the most wonderful time of the year during walks to the library under azure skies and dappled golden sunlight.  It is but a vapor, a sublime wisp of time caught between two extreme seasons where, for a moment, a mellow bliss descends over us in the Midwest until it is violently torn asunder by the icy horror of winter.

Fall is also spiders.

Big, loathsome, hairy, revolting, eight-legged, out-to-get-me-spiders from Hell. They’re everywhere. They are literally swinging from the rafters above my head at this very moment (I’m just not looking because then I would have to get the vacuum attachments out and wake up everyone in the house at 12:30 a.m.). I’ve always been properly terrified of spiders. In dangerous situations, humans are supposed to have a fight-or-flight response. But when faced with an odious spider whose only intention is clearly to kill me, I neither fight nor fly. I freeze and scream until someone (usually my husband) comes to rescue me (and rolls his eyes while he casually crushes the behemoth with his bare fingers).

Spiders are an unholy plague on humanity. I laugh every time I see this meme:

spider meme

I was never able to face spiders until I had children. Then everything changed. I’ll never forget the day. It was fall (when the spiders run) and I was pushing my first born in a swing. Her little chubby legs were kicking, and she was squealing with glee. As she came toward me, a nasty spider scuttled over her bare leg and I turned into a spider killer! Without thinking, I reached for that spider with my bare hands and wasn’t content to flick it away because I wouldn’t have known where the sneaky bastard landed. In the split second that I made the decision to grab the spider with my fingers and crush the life out of it without even the aid of a shoe (or my preferred method, a long vacuum attachment), my life changed. I killed the pestiferous arachnid with my bare, manicured hands. I realized, upon reflection, that I would have killed it with my teeth if the situation had called for it. There was no screaming, no jumping up and down, no waffling. The sentence was death and I was the happy executioner.

Obviously, this change had to do with my new status as a mother. The animal part of me saw danger to my cub and it went wild. You would think that this experience would have toughened me up around other spiders. It didn’t. When I am startled by a spider and I am alone, I still scream, freeze, and freak out. But if any of my children are in the room, the magic happens and I attack it like the Terminator. It’s so weird. 

I have arachnophobia… sometimes. But threaten my kids, you wretched beasts of field and rafter, and I will pounce on your creepy butts like a rabid feral cat or something equally scary. There will be blood (if that goopy stuff that comes out of spiders is blood, I don’t know… but there will be lots of that).

My children bring out a side of me I didn’t know I had — and it’s a little bit bloodthirsty, I’m not going to lie. It enjoys the destruction of the threat to my offspring. It does a little war dance and smears its face with enemy blood. It’s a little twisted. And I think it’s that way for most moms. Well, except this one. Poor dear.

But despite the spiders, I say “bring it on, Fall!” I’m ready, in my pumpkin flavored hand-knitted afghan cape. We only have a few short, beautiful days together, and I’m ready to enjoy every single one of them!