Spiders, Motherhood and What Could Be

Kelli Smith

I’m confident that everyone has a philosophy when it comes to spiders. These philosophies vary widely and are very nuanced. Generally speaking, I am OK with spiders outside and really not OK with them inside. But recently, I was forced to ponder an additional scenario: What if a spider is in between? What if a spider has taken up residence in your sliding glass back door track?  

The door in question is right off the kitchen and is used 200 times a day because my beloved bernedoodle, Ashton, insists on frequenting the backyard as often as possible. The spider in question is shiny black, has a rounded body and shiver-inspiring legs. For the first week, I ensured that I made and maintained eye contact with the spider anytime I opened or closed the door. We — the spider and I — had an unspoken contract: if he remained in sight, in relatively the same location, he could stay.  

I decided not to alarm anyone else in my house, so this spider and I were each other’s companions during any door opening and closing. As the first week advanced to the second, I began to really want to learn more about this new creature in my life. What kind was he? I think in the back of my mind I knew. I mean, we all know, right? But, alas, I was in denial. One day while on a call with my sister, I was suddenly distracted. She caught me, and I explained I was distracted because I had to keep eye contact with my spider friend. She immediately demanded a picture to prove what she already knew.  

You see, the black widow spider in nearly everyone’s spider philosophy is a creature that cannot cohabitate with you. It’s got a bad rap. Largely because its venom is 15 times more toxic than a rattlesnake’s. My sister immediately yelled when she received the picture, “That’s a BLACK WIDOW! It needs to go!” I bargained back, “I have an unspoken agreement with the spider. If he stays in sight and in the same place, we are all good. And so far, he’s stayed.” She continued to reason with me, “A spider doesn’t keep a contract! What happens when the spider disappears from view? Then what will you do?” She had some good points.  

This incident taught me an important life lesson: We need others, particularly other women, to pull us out of some situations. I mean, my isolation led to my befriending a black widow.  

Here is the thing, motherhood was never designed to be done in isolation.  We need our people to point out when we have lost it and to help reset us on a better path. For me, it turns out, I need these people in my life on a daily basis. Over the last several years, I feel like the world has become a lot more isolated by force. This isolation has led to a deconstruction of what used to be a normal part of our daily lives, society and culture. But because of this deconstruction, we stand on the edge of an opportunity to reconstruct.  

Perhaps we must not look to rebuild not what was, but rather, what could be. 

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