I am afraid of spiders. Actually, that's quite an understatement. Spiders terrify me, take my breath away, make my flesh crawl. I don't care how many times they remake Charlotte's Web, I'm not changing my mind. I am deathly afraid of spiders.
When I was just a small thing, a big, black tarantula chased me across the backyard. There I was, blissfully playing in the summer twilight, when all of a sudden . . . well, my screams brought my grandfather running outside toting a shotgun, and he shot the nasty thing (Papa was a helluva shot in his day)! Thus began my lifelong hatred of all things creepy crawly.
My four-year-old daughter is completely different. She fearlessly handles snakes and lizards. She catches frogs and worms. I have to keep an assortment of bug jars on the back porch for her to fill with ladybugs, crickets, and whatever else she can find. Her curiosity is unfettered by fear of any kind.
So, perhaps, you can imagine my surprise when I found myself running like a madwoman to respond to my daughter's shrieks of terror:
"Spider! Spider, Mama!"
"You're not afraid of spiders!" I chided, but my heart was sinking. Obviously, my daughter had picked up on my fear of spiders, and made it her own. And, I wonder . . .
What other phobias and hang-ups have I unknowingly passed on? How often have I let my own fears teach my daughter to be afraid? That is something that really scares me. Even more than spiders!
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