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Lesson's learned from the littlest things in life

Proud moments in parenting

It’s amazing, when as a parent, you suddenly realize that years of teaching your children have sunk in. Particularly when they were very young, something so simple as being a ‘watcher’ of life has embedded itself deep within a young mind. It not only makes you proud of being a teacher, but being proud of the student for paying close attention.

I speak of something that most would not even consider doing. Of facing one’s deep seated fears, to leave well enough alone and let life unfold.

Arachnophobia trailer

Arachnophobia - fear of spiders: an abnormally strong fear of spiders

Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Yep, I got it. I've had it for years. Even watching the movie of the same name, Arachnophobia sends chills up and down my spine, spending most of that time with a pillow over my face, screaming into it. Just knowing at some point they were going to come through the screen and get me. Or maybe ‘they’ (the spiders) were watching the movie, waiting for me to fall asleep so they could attack me. Yes, unreasonable I know, but still a fear.

I felt for me to tell this next part of the story, you first must know the first.

A little history

Many years ago when my husband and I were first married, he spoke of Florida and the various things to be seen in that State. One of the things he spoke of were the spiders, he had told me that there were spiders as big as the span of his hand, he has a big hand too!! He also said the webs were strong, getting hit with one in the face as you were walking through an orange grove was like walking into a rope certainly something you’d never forget. He called these Banana Spiders.

He was a bit of an exaggerator so I kind of took what he said with a grain of salt.

After being married for 2 years we decided to make our trek to Florida to live, his Mom was quite ill and he needed to be with her until she passed.

I had never been there so I was looking forward to seeing all the sights I could see. Alligators were #1 on my list, spiders were the very last on my list of things to see.

We ended up moving into a lime Grove that was about 5 acres of Lime trees, a few lemon trees, 1 or 2 orange trees, Avocado trees and a couple finger banana trees. Bugs!! Oh man were there bugs!! Tons of bugs!


Arriving in late Spring, there were lots of cool stuff to see. There is never really a ‘winter’ to speak of in S. Florida, but still new growth happens. We decided to take a walk around the property, looking over our surroundings. In Florida the greenery grows very rapidly and if you’re not on top of it, in a short time a yard can become quite overgrown. There was an area by the house quite overgrown with brush in which I spotted it. “IT” being a fairly small Banana Spider. Just big enough to notice on the corner of the house.

It had a web up there, on the corner of the house, away from human hands. There were a few bugs in the web, it was not too large. Was I scared of it? Well, sort of in an odd way. But on the other hand, no. It was well out of my way, as long as it stayed there, I stayed where I was, we were at a good place. Besides, it was really kind of pretty looking. Those yellow and black stripes on it’s body making it noticeable to my eyes. Whether it was yellow with black stripes or black with yellow stripes, I couldn’t tell you. I wasn’t getting close enough to examine it!

I did want to watch it though, maybe a form of morbid curiosity got the best of me. About every other day I would make a pass nearby, watching it grow. As the summer wore on it got bigger and bigger. Finally one day I stood there looking at it in amazement, It was HUGE!! Yes, it was as large as my husbands hand, the body about as big as my thumb, the legs though spindly were very long. The web, now that was a bit of amazement in itself. Big think strands all tied together only in a way that a spider can do. I saw a nest within the web, so at this time I figured out we were looking at one lovely lady. I have since discovered that only the females get to be this large, the males are small and delicious! (Umm, that would be according to the females)

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Some things are just wrong, not matter how you look at it.

My nephew happened to see us standing there, he asked what we were doing. I explained that we had been watching her grow, how interesting it has been. The next day we went back to check up on her and her web was gone, destroyed, she was smashed up against the house. I discovered my nephew had been the one to ruin her and all of her lovely work with a stick. I was devastated. I didn’t understand how or why he would do this, she wasn’t hurting a darned thing!! She had been catching the bugs, making repairs to her nest etc. I was not only hurt but I was also very angry. That was just wrong!

Even little ones can see

My boys were very small at this time, but they could see how upset I was at this needless destruction. I spoke of her for years after that (ok, yes I had named her… Charlotte).

Now we fast forward 20 some odd years….

The New "Charlotte"

Check out the 'stitches' she's made repairing her web!!

Check out the 'stitches' she's made repairing her web!!

Scary, but very lovely!!

Scary, but very lovely!!

Discovering my teachings were fruitful

My son bought a home in rural Pennsylvania, his back yard butts up against the woods. He called me with excitement to tell me that he had a Banana Spider at his home, outside by his deck. We went back and forth, me thinking that they don’t come that far up north, him insisting that “YES MOM, it is a Banana Spider!! I remember what they look like!”

This is year #3 that his Spider has returned. Whether it is the same spider or another, he isn't positive. He only knows that each year it has gotten bigger, “IT” is a she. This year he has gotten pictures of this beauty.

He is amazed at the repairs that is continually being made on her web, they look a lot like stitches. He is also feeding her, when ever he sees a grass hopper he tosses it in her web. She packages it for later. He notices that her pantry (pretty term for bug food) will get full, then when she is done with that food, she disposes of it, removing it from her web.

He is doing his best to watch over her and make sure that nothing destroys her web, that is certainly a task considering that he has 2 dogs, 3 cats and a set of twin babies! She seems to trust him, not hiding when he comes around. Not running away when he pulls out the camera to capture her picture.

She is keeping the ’creepy’ spider population down and making sure she eats as many mosquitoes as she can. Of course all of the other bugs that pass within her path don’t stand much of a chance either.

As a footnote - I think I would be very interested in hearing what fellow Hubber, drbj would have to say were she to “interview” one of these lovely Banana Spiders! *hint-hint..

They DO listen!!

So back to my first area of discussion, my son and his listening to me. He did listen, he paid attention. He has found that watching something as simple as a Banana Spider who is just sitting there minding her own business, is quite the learning experience. For him, I know that when his twins are old enough, he will pass on this bit of being a ’life watcher’ to them. This is certainly a proud moment for me as a Mom, both that I was able to impart a piece of me into him and that I am around to see him use that.

UPDATE: Because they left her alone - she continues to live on.

The year for this beauty is 2018

The year for this beauty is 2018



Charlotte 8? 11?

This is the wonder of nature continuing to live thru the offspring. Because my son and his wife made the conscious decision to leave Charlotte alone, to make her way through life, she lives through her children. Their twins are 8 now and because of their terrific parents not disturbing nature, they get to enjoy watching the 'new' Charlotte. I originally wrote this Hub in 2011 it is now 7 years later and every year 1 'Charlotte; makes her home near my son and his family. How wonderful is that!!


Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on January 05, 2012:


Nicole S Hanson from Minnesota on January 05, 2012:

Sometimes it seems as if they don't listen to a word you're saying, but times like that I know it feels great to realize that they actually were listening :) Neat story!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 20, 2011:

Oooo.. heading over there right now!! Can't wait to see what you have done!!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on August 20, 2011:

Hi, susie. I am not that fond of spiders but I could not resist the challenge. If you have nothing better to do, see my "Interview with Banana Spider" dedicated to you. I must admit I did learn a thing or two from my research - especially the, heh, heh, 'erection effect.'

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 16, 2011:

Thank you! I've made it my life's work to be a 'watcher' of everything! I particularly love watching animals and children, doing what they do, without interference. For me it's a blast walking through the store or sitting in a parking lot (while I'm waiting on someone) to just watch as the people go by, doing what they do, being themselves.

I've tried to impart that love of life into my children. My one daughter is a 'true' watcher..

Ms Louise on August 16, 2011:

Beautiful story! I love how you use the phrase "life-watcher"...great way to teach our children!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 16, 2011:

Not a problem, very glad to do it!!

Ravi Singh from India on August 16, 2011:

Nice experience.thanks for sharing it!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 15, 2011:

Not a problem!! Glad to help when I can!!

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on August 15, 2011:

Thanks for clicking the box you are a star :D

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 15, 2011:

Thanks!! Glad you liked it!

Emma from Houston TX on August 15, 2011:

I enjoyed it.This is one of hubs that reminds me years back when I do watch spiders on their webs.It's really interesting. vote up

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 15, 2011:

There you go!! Box clicked. I hadn't thought of doing that when putting in photo's, a lot of my Hubs don't have pictures, not sure why, they just don't.

Yes, provided they are in their natural habitat (outside) I don't mind looking at them!! When I see one in the house I go running and scream like a 2 year old.. My youngest daughter comes and gets them for me, putting them outside. I don't want them killed, just make them go away...

It's really neat to look out the window early in the morning, before the sun dries the dew. The webs that are scattered through the yard are just amazing!!

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on August 15, 2011:

An excellent hub it held me from the first word to the last. I love spiders as long as they are in their space (outside)not mine (indoors)lol.. I love taking their photographs too.

Do you think you could tick the box in your photo capsule that says 'View original size on click' as I would really love to view them at the larger size.

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 14, 2011:

LOL - I was so hoping that you would stop by!! As I was writing this I thought that "I wish I could do those cool interviews like drbj does!!"

Since you live in Florida (or there abouts) I figured you might have a few of these really cool neighbors!! If you need to find one, you know for a GOOD picture, head down to 177th st (Krome Ave.) take a right on 264th St. and anywhere within the next mile or so (on the left side of the road) you might find a subject that wants to have her picture taken!! Before you go get some REALLY good skeeto spray, you know them buggers out there will carry you off!! Those lovely ladies can only eat so many!!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on August 14, 2011:

What an inspiring tale of spiders and life lessons, susie. Personally, spiders are not my favorite subject to interview but you know me. I cannot resist a challenge. So stay tuned. An "Interview with Banana Spider" is being formulated as we speak, er, write, er, read. Voted up, of course.

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 14, 2011:

Yes they do!! I love it when I hear my kids repeat to their friend (or even their own kids) things I have said to them in the past. It just makes me laugh... What makes me laugh even harder is when I catch myself repeating something I remember my mother saying!!

Thanks for stopping by!

carter06 on August 14, 2011:

Loved your story, thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Our kids really do hear us even when we are not speaking, don't they!


Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 14, 2011:

So glad you enjoyed!! Thanks for the comment!

daengpalopo from indonesia on August 14, 2011:

i'm enjoyed this sweet... ;) thanks

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 14, 2011:

Not a problem Eiddwen!! Glad you enjoyed it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Eiddwen from Wales on August 14, 2011:

Thak you so much for sharing this gem.

Take care


Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 13, 2011:

Wow... Just Wow... that is too cool, sent shivers up my spine reading that. I had to read it aloud to my husband and daughter. That is amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing that with me!!

LaDena Campbell from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... on August 13, 2011:

Wonderful father instilled a love for spiders in his three daughters..he would always pick up spiders for us to play a child we were never bitten by spiders...when my father found out he was dying from cancer, he told us that when he died he would be reincarnated as a spider...probably the small jumping spider that he loved so much...the week after his headstone arrived, we were pulling the flower vase that was embedded in the headstone. As we pulled it up, we discovered this small jumping spider living there...Now I know its not the same spider, but this same type of spider has lived there now for nearly 40 years!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 13, 2011:

@ Redbird - Thank you! Yes, I do have a love for nature, I do my best to try and respect every aspect of it! I have also done my best to impart that respect with my children. As I was writing this my 22 yr old daughter called to tell me all about a BIG Caterpillar she found and moved it to a safe place. I had to laugh! She was so excited!

@ Don - Thank you! Well I do believe that I have been shall we say 'bothered' in my sleep from spiders. Sometimes spiders will go for the tears in your eyes while sleeping, to drink them. For no apparent reason I've had my eye swell completely shut for a few days. I attribute that to spiders.

I'm so glad you both came over for a visit here at HubPages!!

Don on August 13, 2011:

Susan,you write very well...

You say you have a fear of spiders....

Has a spider ever bit you....

Redbird on August 13, 2011:

Susan, What a Beautiful Story! I can see your love for Nature, Great and Small. I'm glad that your Son now appricates the Beauty of Nature!

Sweetsusieg (author) from Michigan on August 13, 2011:

LOL Yes, I had heard they were called garden spiders, as I am sure they are!! I have no idea how my hubby came up with that name, maybe it's Floridians themselves who use this name.

YAY you were the first commentor!! Sorry no prize just my big THANK YOU!!

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on August 13, 2011:

Thanks for a hub that I can identify with. I too have a big fear of spiders, but I do like to watch them on their webs. I used to feed them when I was a kid too. I live in Texas and we have these spiders also, but I've always heard them called garden spiders. And fortunately for me, they don't get nearly that big in my current garden.

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