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Sarah Simpson column: Hate is such a strong word, but it works well for spiders

“That’s where we put the spider”
If there’s one thing you don’t want crawling up your leg, it’s this thing. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

I try not to say I hate things because I feel like hate is a pretty strong word. Increasingly around my children I’m learning to explain why I don’t care for something instead of flat out telling them I hate it.

No more “Gah! I just walked through a spider web! I hate spider webs!”

Now that it’s fall, I actually say that all the time but I try to follow it up with, “I don’t hate them, but they do come out of nowhere and I don’t care for how it feels when they get in my face or hair,” or something like that.

I hate spiders. Well, I don’t HATE spiders, I just don’t care for it when they catch me off guard, or are in places I feel they shouldn’t be. I don’t like surprises — especially the eight-legged kind.

I’ve written about spiders before.

I’ve got one child who would probably walk a huntsman spider on a leash if we let her. She’s actually found a specialty “spider keeper” box online that she wants me to get her for Christmas so she can have a pet spider. She’s been obsessed with getting that box, or making one of her own, for a few weeks now. My feelings on that aren’t as keen as hers, let’s just say that.

My other child doesn’t seem to have my general contempt for spiders, but like me, he’s certainly not keen to make friends with any either.

The other evening he and I were at the Sherman Road soccer fields photographing a men’s soccer game at the turf. It was a lovely fall night, the sun was setting, the air had a crispness to it, but we could still get away with shorts and t-shirts. The game was fun to watch and the sounds of little kids playing nearby while their parents watched the game was a delight.

My son hated it.

He was already mildly annoyed that we were “working” on a Saturday night, but one day he’ll realize that if that’s “work” then we are pretty darn lucky. He was mad that we were wasting our special time together by working while his dad and sister were off doing something else together.

I told him the longer he complained while I was working, the more distracted I would be and the longer I’d have to stand there trying to get an in-focus photo. He was standing quietly in protest when all of a sudden he jumped backward and started swinging the hoodie he’d tied around his waist against his legs.

“Mom! Mom!” he said, pointing to the ground.“THAT was crawling on my leg!”

What THAT was was a large, dark, hairy spider.

The nearby kids heard the commotion and gathered quickly to see what had been crawling on my boy’s leg. Another mom came over and used an app to identify it as a banded fishing spider. We looked at each other and without words came to the agreement we wouldn’t talk out loud about how much we did not like that spider. It was clear neither of us were fans.

The kids though, they poked and prodded at it with a felt before picking it up with something — even they didn’t want to touch it.

Eventually the brave children moved it all the way from the turf, across the mini fields to near a gate on the other side of the property. All of a sudden being at the soccer fields wasn’t boring anymore and my son ran off with the spider kids.

After I got my photos we made our way across the empty field and toward the car.

He stopped short of going through the passthrough area in the fence.

“That’s where we put the spider,” he said nervously.

“Just book it,” I said as I ran through to the other side. He sped through, too.

Once we got in the car I told him I was super proud of him for being so calm when he saw the spider on his leg because I wasn’t so sure I would have been.

“Can I tell you something, Mom?” he asked.

“Of course,” I said.

“That scared the #@$!% out of me! Like it really scared the ^%$# out of me.”

I tried not to laugh, and I tried not to make a big deal out of his curse words. But I agreed that it was a pretty startling situation for him to have found himself in and noted that he handled it very well.

(I then told him I was also very proud of him for waiting to get to the car and into a more appropriate place to use a word like that. I believe the kids are going to learn the words with or without me, and it’s my job to teach them where it’s not appropriate to say them — which is pretty much every public place — and a lot of private places, too.)

Once we got home we texted his sister and dad a photo of the spider, and relayed the story — but only after he had stripped down and made sure no spiders came home with him. Gross.

“Yikes!” was my husband’s response. He texted again that our daughter was hoping we’d bring it home for her to keep as a pet.