I never intended to be the mom whose kids have spider friends living above their beds.
It all started one night last week as I was getting the kids ready for bed.
We had finagled our way through our bedtime routine—if you can call a mad dash of getting five kids’ jammies on and teeth brushed a routine—and made our way up the stairs for stories. Crammed in a tangle of little bodies, I read the usual two picture books and a Bible story, stood my ground when they asked for more, and made my way from bed to bed to tuck them in and pray with them.
With that sigh of relief that comes from being almost to the finish line of a long day, I settled into the rocker to nurse the baby.
So close to having some time to just be.
“Okay, lights out and time to get settled, I’m turning on Psalms.” (We listen to scripture for a few minutes each night after lights out to finish calming down and help fill their hearts and minds with it.)
My daughter stood on the one bed to turn out the light, “Whoa! Boys come look at this!” she called. “There’s a spider here saving a fly for a snack!”
So much for the calm, peaceful bedtime and quiet house I had been looking forward to.
Two brothers scrambled from under their own covers onto the third bed.
Together, they examined the daddy long-legs as he wound his most recent catch in a little silk ball. Each noticed something different about the way the web was constructed, how the spider moved, and how it held the fly.
While they were exclaiming, “That’s so neat!” I was trying to figure out how I could eradicate every piece of evidence of this little arachnid and any of his friends or cousins from my entire house. Evidently, the children too had the idea that Mr. Long-legs might not be the only spider in the house because one of the boys shouted . . .
“Let’s see if there are any spiders over our beds!”
Off the first bed, they scurried, hurrying to turn on the lights over the other bunks. Sure enough. Mr. Long-legs’ cousins Mr. Many-legs and Mr. Skinny-legs seemed to be spinning webs in the corners of those cubbies as well.
I was about to march downstairs to retrieve my battle gear—the vacuum and dusting wand—right then. Who cares about bedtime when there are spiders hanging out above all three of the boys’ beds?
But as the three boys each stood on their beds with their older sister joining them for the moment, I realized that this is childhood. This is real learning. These crazy long-legged spiders may be gross to me, but they are fascinating to my kids. And wouldn’t you know it, the two older boys had just learned about the harvestman spider—aka daddy long-legs—in science and were quick to remind me that they are considered beneficial spiders who don’t harm humans.
“Please, Mom, can’t we keep them and watch them?”
And that’s how I became the mom who lets spiders live above my kids’ beds.
You see, sometimes we have to let our children have the freedom to be inquisitive. We must let their brains learn the way they were designed to learn. We need to give them time and space to observe the world around them. God gave our children incredible, curious minds that want to find out the how and the way of nature, music, art, building, how things work, and more.
We moms can help them become all they were created to be if we give them that freedom to explore even if it means letting the spider webs hang—at least for a couple of weeks.