Lesson's learned from the littlest things in life
Proud moments in parenting
It’s amazing, when as a parent, you suddenly realize that years of teaching your children have sunk in. Particularly when they were very young, something so simple as being a ‘watcher’ of life has embedded itself deep within a young mind. It not only makes you proud of being a teacher, but being proud of the student for paying close attention.
I speak of something that most would not even consider doing. Of facing one’s deep seated fears, to leave well enough alone and let life unfold.
Arachnophobia - fear of spiders: an abnormally strong fear of spiders
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Yep, I got it. I've had it for years. Even watching the movie of the same name, Arachnophobia sends chills up and down my spine, spending most of that time with a pillow over my face, screaming into it. Just knowing at some point they were going to come through the screen and get me. Or maybe ‘they’ (the spiders) were watching the movie, waiting for me to fall asleep so they could attack me. Yes, unreasonable I know, but still a fear.
I felt for me to tell this next part of the story, you first must know the first.
A little history
Many years ago when my husband and I were first married, he spoke of Florida and the various things to be seen in that State. One of the things he spoke of were the spiders, he had told me that there were spiders as big as the span of his hand, he has a big hand too!! He also said the webs were strong, getting hit with one in the face as you were walking through an orange grove was like walking into a rope certainly something you’d never forget. He called these Banana Spiders.
He was a bit of an exaggerator so I kind of took what he said with a grain of salt.
After being married for 2 years we decided to make our trek to Florida to live, his Mom was quite ill and he needed to be with her until she passed.
I had never been there so I was looking forward to seeing all the sights I could see. Alligators were #1 on my list, spiders were the very last on my list of things to see.
We ended up moving into a lime Grove that was about 5 acres of Lime trees, a few lemon trees, 1 or 2 orange trees, Avocado trees and a couple finger banana trees. Bugs!! Oh man were there bugs!! Tons of bugs!
Arriving in late Spring, there were lots of cool stuff to see. There is never really a ‘winter’ to speak of in S. Florida, but still new growth happens. We decided to take a walk around the property, looking over our surroundings. In Florida the greenery grows very rapidly and if you’re not on top of it, in a short time a yard can become quite overgrown. There was an area by the house quite overgrown with brush in which I spotted it. “IT” being a fairly small Banana Spider. Just big enough to notice on the corner of the house.
It had a web up there, on the corner of the house, away from human hands. There were a few bugs in the web, it was not too large. Was I scared of it? Well, sort of in an odd way. But on the other hand, no. It was well out of my way, as long as it stayed there, I stayed where I was, we were at a good place. Besides, it was really kind of pretty looking. Those yellow and black stripes on it’s body making it noticeable to my eyes. Whether it was yellow with black stripes or black with yellow stripes, I couldn’t tell you. I wasn’t getting close enough to examine it!
I did want to watch it though, maybe a form of morbid curiosity got the best of me. About every other day I would make a pass nearby, watching it grow. As the summer wore on it got bigger and bigger. Finally one day I stood there looking at it in amazement, It was HUGE!! Yes, it was as large as my husbands hand, the body about as big as my thumb, the legs though spindly were very long. The web, now that was a bit of amazement in itself. Big think strands all tied together only in a way that a spider can do. I saw a nest within the web, so at this time I figured out we were looking at one lovely lady. I have since discovered that only the females get to be this large, the males are small and delicious! (Umm, that would be according to the females)
Some things are just wrong, not matter how you look at it.
My nephew happened to see us standing there, he asked what we were doing. I explained that we had been watching her grow, how interesting it has been. The next day we went back to check up on her and her web was gone, destroyed, she was smashed up against the house. I discovered my nephew had been the one to ruin her and all of her lovely work with a stick. I was devastated. I didn’t understand how or why he would do this, she wasn’t hurting a darned thing!! She had been catching the bugs, making repairs to her nest etc. I was not only hurt but I was also very angry. That was just wrong!
Even little ones can see
My boys were very small at this time, but they could see how upset I was at this needless destruction. I spoke of her for years after that (ok, yes I had named her… Charlotte).
Now we fast forward 20 some odd years….
The New "Charlotte"
Discovering my teachings were fruitful
My son bought a home in rural Pennsylvania, his back yard butts up against the woods. He called me with excitement to tell me that he had a Banana Spider at his home, outside by his deck. We went back and forth, me thinking that they don’t come that far up north, him insisting that “YES MOM, it is a Banana Spider!! I remember what they look like!”
This is year #3 that his Spider has returned. Whether it is the same spider or another, he isn't positive. He only knows that each year it has gotten bigger, “IT” is a she. This year he has gotten pictures of this beauty.
He is amazed at the repairs that is continually being made on her web, they look a lot like stitches. He is also feeding her, when ever he sees a grass hopper he tosses it in her web. She packages it for later. He notices that her pantry (pretty term for bug food) will get full, then when she is done with that food, she disposes of it, removing it from her web.
He is doing his best to watch over her and make sure that nothing destroys her web, that is certainly a task considering that he has 2 dogs, 3 cats and a set of twin babies! She seems to trust him, not hiding when he comes around. Not running away when he pulls out the camera to capture her picture.
She is keeping the ’creepy’ spider population down and making sure she eats as many mosquitoes as she can. Of course all of the other bugs that pass within her path don’t stand much of a chance either.
As a footnote - I think I would be very interested in hearing what fellow Hubber, drbj would have to say were she to “interview” one of these lovely Banana Spiders! *hint-hint..
They DO listen!!
So back to my first area of discussion, my son and his listening to me. He did listen, he paid attention. He has found that watching something as simple as a Banana Spider who is just sitting there minding her own business, is quite the learning experience. For him, I know that when his twins are old enough, he will pass on this bit of being a ’life watcher’ to them. This is certainly a proud moment for me as a Mom, both that I was able to impart a piece of me into him and that I am around to see him use that.
UPDATE: Because they left her alone - she continues to live on.
Charlotte 8? 11?
This is the wonder of nature continuing to live thru the offspring. Because my son and his wife made the conscious decision to leave Charlotte alone, to make her way through life, she lives through her children. Their twins are 8 now and because of their terrific parents not disturbing nature, they get to enjoy watching the 'new' Charlotte. I originally wrote this Hub in 2011 it is now 7 years later and every year 1 'Charlotte; makes her home near my son and his family. How wonderful is that!!