Fears… those who know me, know one of my biggest fears in the world is… SPIDERS!  It’s actually become a little bit of a joke in a lot of cases, but I’m OK with that!  But as far as spiders go, there is NOTHING that I like about them. They are creepy… ugly… and down right terrifying!  (No, I haven’t asked one what he/she thinks about me!)

Funny how something that is so small (though in my mind, there is no such thing as a small spider!) can be such a giant fear for so many people. I remember growing up, seeing a spider, screaming and then hearing, ‘Oh c’mon, you’re bigger than he is‘, or ‘He’s more scared of you than you are of him!‘  My response was usually something like… ‘Oh really?  Shall we test that theory of yours?‘… as I was running the other direction!

Maybe my fear has to do with having two older brothers that did kind of like to torment their little sister at times! Hmmmm… nope, in this case, I can’t blame them. I have a very vivid memory of riding my tricycle with my neighbourhood friend, only to look down and see a spider crawling on my leg.  Not that I had much life experience at this point, but I had never seen a spider as big as this – I swear it was the size of a soccer ball!  It was black and yellow, and well, I think it traumatized me for life!  I don’t think I have ever screamed so loud in my life and back then, when a child screamed, the reaction time I think was slower than it is today! This thing was on my leg for so long I thought it was going to take up residency! ugh… Ever since that day, my fear is one that, I admit, is perhaps a little irrational – but very real!

However… I sit here recalling a trip made to Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, which used to be one of our favourite places to visit. They focus on demonstrations and education regarding different reptiles but also include feeding demos, which the kids (and yes, many adults!) always love to watch. The staff has always been amazing and every visit we would come away learning something new.  This particular visit was going along well and we were enjoying the highly interactive demonstration that Kevin was putting on… and then it happened!  Kevin brought out a ‘creature’ that was enclosed in his hands… encouraging the kids to guess what he was holding.  Now, over the numerous visits we have had at Little Ray’s, this was different than other ‘introductions’… and as I looked at Kevin’s hands I felt a shiver go down my spine. As the kids were laughing and guessing what he was holding… I knew!  And knowing caused me to slowly start to tense up. As he opened his hands, he held a tarantula!  OMG!!  If I could have run at that point I would have! If I could have screamed… without looking like a complete moron…in this room filled with children… I would have!

Now, the key to this whole experience is that my son knows all too well my fear of spiders.  So, as Kevin is educating us about this eight legged creature that terrified me beyond belief, my son jumps up and says… ‘My mom wants to hold the tarantula!!!‘  Nooooooo… child of mine… you didn’t just say that!!!, I thought to myself.  Kevin smiled and continued with his demonstration – likely seeing the colour drain from my face at the thought of holding a tarantula!  Well, once he was done he asked if there was anyone that wanted to hold the tarantula.  Of course the kids were generally pretty excited to be able to do this.  And then there it was again… my son calling out… ‘My mom wants to hold the tarantula!‘  This child of mine… what was he trying to do??  Cause me to have a heart attack right on the spot so that he could collect on the insurance money?!?!  I tried to reason with him, but that wouldn’t work.  I watched as these little kids, who had no fear, held this creepy, crawly, furry thing.  I took a deep breath and for my son’s sake, I decided that I would give this a try. Kevin walked over with this grin on his face… asked me if I was sure… I nodded (cause I was completely unable to speak)… closed my eyes and put my hands out.  I felt something crawl across my hands.  I had to assume it was the tarantula, but I wasn’t going to look.  Then I think I actually squealed, but I can’t say for certain.  Though this ‘thing’ was only in my hands for probably 10 seconds, it was the longest 10 seconds of my life!

I couldn’t believe it… I did it!  I held a tarantula… and didn’t have a heart attack while doing it!  Does this mean I like spiders now?  Heck no!  I still freak when I see most of them.  Yes, I have been known to use hairspray to try and kill them… which never seems to work.  I have drowned them in the shower… then wonder if they are going to crawl out of the drain and then try to kill me in the night!  If I had a bazooka, I would use that to kill them, but realize then I would have a bigger problem on my hands likley putting a hole in the wall!  Losing track of where one is in the house means that I start packing, preparing myself to move!  Yes, I still FEAR spiders!  All I can say is… what won’t we do for our kids?!

If you can laugh at things like this, you can live with them too.  Not that I want to live with a spider… but I can usually try to rationalize my fear – and if not, well, as I have done here, I can usually try and find the funny side of it all.

After thinking about this… I think it’s time for a coffee!