One of my early memories is my grandmother taking me through her large garden in Strathfield, teaching me the names of all the plants. Never being the great gardener she is, I can't remember most of them anymore. But I do remember the spiders.
When a spiderweb was in our way - often the case - she would stop me and ask me to look at the web and note how beautiful it was and how much work the spider had put into creating such a lovely home for itself - and a home that very cleverly doubled as a means of getting food. She would then ask me to hold a couple of the web's threads and would take a couple herself and we would very carefully move it, sticking our threads to new plants so we could get past without disrupting the spider or getting its web in our hair. Undoubtedly we also destroyed its chances of catching insects, as the web was in the way for a reason - but I didn't know that.
I've never been particularly scared of spiders and I've always believed that those days in Nana's garden were why.
And of course, I've also pointed out the beautiful webs and almost equally beautiful spiders to my son, Cooper.
For the last couple of days a spider has made its home in our bathtub. Just a daddy long legs, but a big one, whose body you could see and whose legs had an elegance and stance a sense of wisdom - as far as a daddy long legs can look wise, that is.
Cooper had already said, yesterday "there is a spider in the bath and I don't want to kill it", but I thought he meant he didn't want the squishy sensation, like our reluctance to squish cockroaches 'cos it is gross.
This morning we talked about the spider again and Cooper and I both agreed that the problem was he was a real beauty and we did not want to hurt him. Cooper went further, saying he didn't want to hurt any spiders. He suggested that we move him. He went and found a piece of paper and tried to pick the spider up himself - but only succeeded in spooking spidey a little.
Worried he might make it worse for the spider, it was declared to be my turn - we collected spidey and walked together outside, triumphantly depositing him on the brick wall.
I don't know where spidey went and think he probably liked the bathtub better, but I am really glad that Cooper wanted to move him. And I like to think it is all because of the care my Nana showed for her spiders when I was a tiny girl.