|I cannot remember a time when I have not been afraid of crickets. My mother says that when I was just a toddler, I would come running to her screaming, "The kickets are going to get me." As an adult, I’m sure that one of my four older brothers was responsible. Regardless of the origin though, that fear morphed into an irrational phobia – one I was determined not to pass along to my children.
My first test of courage came when my daughter, Courtney, was barely two. We were in our tiny, six by eight bathroom, when I saw it – a cricket. I sucked in my breath as I quickly reviewed my options. My first option has always been to scream, freeze, and then bolt. Not an option this time, since it would frighten Courtney and therefore pass the fear to the next generation. My second option then was to slowly back out of the bathroom closing the door. That was not really an option either since we had to finish getting ready to leave.
That led to my third option -- get rid of it. I was, after all, considerably larger than my opponent. However, I wasn’t sure how I would accomplish this, since I cannot bring myself to smash anything that crunches! Plus, I knew that if that thing moved one tiny inch I would lose my tenuous grip on my control.
Time slowed as if every thought and motion was completed in a freeze frame. I frantically searched for an escape! I could only hear my ragged breath and the chatter of my toddler, blissfully unaware of the peril.
It was then that I spotted my salvation -- a wide-mouthed cup sitting on the counter. If I could somehow capture the hideous creature BEFORE it moved, I might be able to maintain my fašade of calm.
Slowly, my hand inched out. I palmed the cup upside down. Then, I carefully crouched, maneuvering myself into position. I prepared to pounce.
It pounced first. The black monster attacked with a sudden viciousness, sinking its fangs into my chest and refusing to let go. I frantically screamed and clawed at my attacker.
I’m not sure how much time passed before I became aware of my baby girl. She was just standing there, blinking her big blue eyes.
"What’s wrong, Mommy?"
I quickly snagged her from the monstrous jaws and went with a modified version of options one and two. I bolted -- slamming the door behind me.
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