The latest result of my "lean-in" resolution.
She has been living with us since I rescued her from our cat about 3 weeks ago. I popped a flowerpot over the top of her, mostly because I wanted to see Donnie's reaction when he lifted it off. He's not a big fan of spiders.
He thought we should put it in a tree where it would be safe, but I didn't want the kids to miss seeing it---you know...we homeschool now...teaching opportunities...yada yada-- and they were already in bed. We stuck it in a jar on the counter overnight, and woke up to little voices squealing about whether is was real. Or dead. Or where in the world it came from.
Which lead to us doing a little research on what do tarantulas eat...
They eat crickets.
And you can buy cricket food to ensure that your crickets are sufficiently gut-loaded as to be nutritious to your tarantula.
Uh, listen. I'm not a girl who hates spiders. I was raised by a semi-hippy mom who would shame us for laying a finger on one, since they are one of the "good bugs". But crickets? No. I am not agreeing to raising crickets and gut-loading them.
So we bought some pre-loaded crickets.
And a little terrarium to go with it.
Only $15 later, and we had a tarantula as a pet. Named Angelina Negra, or "little black angel. "
The girl at the pet store seems surprised and impressed that we owned a "wild caught" tarantula. She was concerned it might be too stressed out to eat in captivity, so we watched eagerly for the carnage. While we waited for some action, and scratched our heads at the dumb crickets snuggling up to the tarantulas legs, we watched some YouTube videos of people feeding their tarantulas. They are gory, violent, and AWESOME. We were so into the videos, especially the one where they fed cockroaches to them, that we almost missed Angelina's first meal. But she caught that cricket, munched on it's loaded guts, and when Emma looked up at me with misty eyes she sighed, "She's ours!"
All went well for a couple weeks. Donnie was not exactly pleased about the arrangement and kept telling me the baby was going to knock off the cage and set the spider free, and I was all, "Don't worry, it'll be fine." Lean in, man!
Then we found the cockroach.
Now, for anyone reading this who has never lived in or been to the great state of Texas, we have roaches down here. Big ones. You can do everything in your power to exterminate the little monsters, but sometimes they just get in. It's prehistoric down here in the Wild West. The biggest ones are the size of a small mouse. Absolutely horrifying. We only get a couple in the house per year, but the event is scarring. Some people call these beasts "water bugs" because they cannot handle the fact that a roach got in the house. I get it. Whatever gets you through the night.
On the night the *ahem* water bug got into the house, I was trying to relax in the tub. But there it was, boldly inching up the wall next to the bathroom counter where the cat was napping. And then everything happened at once. The cat saw the bug and started batting it, still clinging to the wall, closer and closer to the tub. I was petrified. I knew the bug was going to end up in the water, causing me to jump up, slip, and bump my head, and that my biggest fear would be realized--being unconscious and naked when the paramedics arrive. I called for Donnie and he came to the rescue. He scooped it up into a container and dumped it into the spider's habit.
Maybe it was because of my near-death experience, but I was so excited about this. Finally a use for the lowest most vile creatures! Feed our spider! Save $.45 a week on crickets!
Except the spider didn't eat the roach.
Ten days later, the cockroach was still alive in the cage with the spider. They were living in harmony.
Now we have a roach for a pet.
A couple days later I was on the phone with Donnie recapping our day. He was on his way home from a ministry retreat, and I was at home keeping everyone alive in the meantime. He'd had a conversation that day with another pastor about how much God cares about the little things in our lives. I made a joke about the littlest thing in my life, and how I didn't know how in the world I was going to get that roach out of the spider cage, without the spider or the roach touching me, and NO I AM NOT GOING TO FEED THE ROACH, and I wish God would answer this prayer about the tiniest thing in my life that is causing me the BIGGEST case of heebie jeebies.
And then He did.
Early, EARLY the next morning I woke up to Ethan standing next to our bed in tears. The cat had knocked the tarantula cage off of his dresser. The spider was out. The roach was out. The gut-loaded crickets that we had to buy because the spider wouldn't eat the roach WERE OUT. I slipped out of bed trying not to wake Donnie, who'd gotten back in town only 4 hours earlier, partially because I knew he was exhausted, and more because of the told you so's. For the rest of the morning we (Ethan and I) systematically turned over, shook out, and removed everything in the boys' room. We found one of the crickets and popped it back into its cage. After two hours Donnie got up to go to a student's graduation, and Esther started screaming about a roach in the hallway. Donnie heroically smashed the thing and disposed of it, without knowing exactly where it came from. I was giving the kids some side eye and threatening them with my mind powers to not say anything. They got the message.
After 3 hours of searching, I gave up and collapsed into bed. We rolled up a towel in front of the boys room door, and I told Ethan to keep looking. I was running on 4 hours of sleep, after a week of sleepless nights while Donnie had been away. I just couldn't keep going. And that's when Ethan found her, just walking around on the floor next to his foot. "What, you guys were looking for me?"
Ethan screamed, "I found her!" And I jumped out of bed to help him return her to her home.
She is now living peacefully in her cage, and I am merrily driving to Petco each week for a new batch of crickets.
And that is how leaning in to motherhood and adopting a new pet taught me something about our Great Big Powerful God:
He actually does answer our prayers, even the tiniest ones, sometimes in a matter of hours. That cockroach is now out of our lives and I did not have to touch it.
Has God taught you anything new about His character lately?
P.S. I eventually told Donnie what we were up to that morning. I think he was glad to be left out of it. Also, the 2nd cricket made his way into the wall, and now spends half the night serenading us with his cricket song.