A few months ago hubby was rushed off to hospital with kidney stones, selfishly leaving my kids and me to cope by ourselves for three days. Shakeel (12) automatically assumed the role of Man of the House, barking orders, beating his chest and pretty much milking his self-appointed new position for all it was worth.
I tried to be brave, putting the children at ease while investigating unexplained noises, taking terrified Nuha (6) to the dark corners of the house to prove to her that there was no boogey-man (while trying desperately not to wet myself in the process) and basically just reassuring them of their safety (of which I myself was not too certain). It was like living the movie Scream, as I anxiously awaited the masked knife-wielding maniac to make his appearance in the horror that was playing in my head. I prayed that once the intruder eventually showed up, my maternal instinct would be strong enough to ensure that I would not head for the hills, leaving my poor children to protect themselves.
Toward the end of the second day, my fake bravado was taking its toll on me. But duty called and I proceeded to check windows and doors ensuring that they were properly secured. I was doing my third check on my living room window when I saw a movement against the curtain. I started, but whatever it was, disappeared behind the folds of the curtain. I proceeded toward the window cautiously; unsuccessfully trying to convince myself that it had just been a shadow, when suddenly it reappeared. Moving toward me was the biggest and most terrifying spider I'd ever seen. I felt my legs and arms weaken and for a few seconds remained paralysed with fear. Then followed my bloodcurdling scream which would have scared away lesser spiders, but this one moved toward me menacingly, ignoring the hysterical shrieks of my kids who had now joined me.
General panic ensued, with Shakeel shouting, "OMG, that thing is as big as my hand!" He was not exaggerating- the enormous thick legged brown speckled spider was bigger than my whole freakin' hand. What made the monster even more terrifying was the fact that it kept moving toward us- strangely, not at all intimidated the five hysterical shrieking humans.
After the hysteria had reached fever pitch, it dawned on me that no one was stepping up and taking charge of the situation. Then, terrifyingly, it dawned on me that that hero would have to be me. Damn that kidney stone!
I had a difficult decision to make. I hated the thought of killing it (or anything for that matter). But I didn't know if it was dangerous and I had to put our safety first. "Someone get the Doom" I ordered, just as the monster charged toward us again (I'm not kidding!).
Shakeel leapt into action and sprinted down the passage to the kitchen where the insecticides are kept. The girls and I kept an eye on the menace, while waiting for our hero's return. We waited..and waited..and waited, and then I guessed that someone (probably me) had irritatingly placed empty Doom and Target cans back into the cupboard and our hero was most probably racing against time to find a can that had some insecticide left. So I ran to the kitchen to help him. Strangely I found the cupboard still closed and Shakeel nowhere in sight. Until I turned around- and there was our saviour, crouching on the kitchen table (with shoes and all), hugging his knees, his eyes wide with panic.
"Did you catch it Mommy? Did you catch the spider?" The poor child had had no intention of playing the hero- he had merely instinctively been saving his butt by getting away first.
I smiled, relieved that my son still felt he needed his mommy's protection. He was not yet ready to be the man of the house. He wanted to be- and still is- his mommy's baby. Despite the monstrous arachnid I had lurking in my living room, I was happy.