Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Does whatever a spider can

The summer is a time for visitors. We have family and friends coming in and out all summer, plus a house guest who just left Wednesday after a five week stay. And then there is the spider. Ok, we have a lot of spiders, but I am thinking of one in particular.

An intrepid, if foolhardy spider has taken up residence in my car's side-view mirror. Whenever the car sits idle for a day, she crawls out of the space behind the mirror and spins a web between the mirror's casing and the side of the car. When I disturb her web, she scuttles back into the mirror casing, abandoning her web for the safety of glass and plastic. I'm sure she's out there right now, repairing the wind damage inflicted by this afternoon's trip to the store. I am sure she doesn't think ahead to the moment when I will re-enter the car, destroying her handiwork once again.

I sometimes feel like that spider, a tiny webbed don quixote struggling against forces I can not predict or control. When I allow myself, I can easily feel adrift in a world not of my making. But really, I am not the spider. I can see danger or opportunity coming, and I can make choices beyond the immediate hide! or rebuild.

Work is heating up, and keep reminding myself that I have chosen this work, and now I have the opportunity to be part of something big, something important, if I just stop worrying that I will be worthy of the task long enough to tackle it.

Same goes for parenting. I never considered having a child in my twenties, thinking it was too much, too hard. Even when I was desperately trying to become a parent, I worried that I would not be able to meet the big challenge of a child. Ada is two now, and for the most part I meet the challenges she presents. Sometimes I fail, but I have a lot of support and room to fail. Chris is with me every step, and behind him are our families, close friends and numerous others. In considering the idea of a second child I find myself wondering whether I will be able to handle it. My fears aside, I know I will be up to the challenge if we are lucky enough to have the chance to try. And I know I will also continue to fail on occasion, but that is part of the deal.

It frustrates me that I, a well educated, competent and cared for 35 year old, often struggle to find easy confidence in my own abilities. These feelings are not pervasive, but they are nagging. Seeing the spider spin and re-spin her web, I hope that I can take a different approach. I am planning and making choices. Hopefully I won't be eating too many bugs.


  1. I had a spider like that on my car for months, and you're right - they are awe-inspiring, those spiders. She clung to my car through several highway trips, but then blew off one day on a simple jaunt through town. I was astonished by how much I missed her.

  2. If you do eat some bugs, just look at them as rich in protein.

  3. I stop the car for mirror-bound spiders regardless of the roadway. I fear the wobbling will cause them brain injury and lead to asymmetric webs.

  4. Oh yeah, I hear that. Shall we talk sometime about the "fraud syndrome?" I'm still waiting nervously for the day when someone takes my degree away.

  5. i loved this post. and all of your posts. over here in new york city, in the muggy summer months, i'm thinking of you and ellen lots. and of the kiddies!

  6. You know what can kill the fear? The spider doesn't see all the damage that will need to be repaired. The spider sees the single string that needs to be spun to start over.

    Sometimes focusing on the "big picture" can kick in the fear. Look at the first step and nothing else. That's what I do when I see a huge task coming up. What is the first step? Then take it...

  7. Oh, I so know, I do. I could have written that last paragraph, word for word.

  8. the frustration that is lack of self-confidence aside, i find that my need to prove myself to myself is the driving force behind many of my successes. so in that regard, the spider is a good role model in that she is focused and goal-oriented despite the unexpected pitfalls. and she doesn't give up.

    but the eating bugs part is no good.

  9. Honest. Lucid. Smart.

    (should you need to change the tag line.. which I would not approve of.. perhaps you might consider the above review.)