Little Ladies,

It started as an ordinary day, our feet shuffling slowly through the kitchen as our bodies gradually shook off the hazy dust of slumber. We had just finished breakfast, Bible reading, catechism, and poetry review, and I was heading to the bathroom to get cleaned up for the rest of the day. You were both stationed under the kitchen table, gathering various strewn toys about you and shouting about treasure and secret hideouts and danger on the high seas.

And that’s when it happened.

I had just inserted my contacts when a blood-curdling scream sent shivers down my spine.

I ran toward the kitchen and nearly collided with Laynie, who had flown from under the table and was screaming hysterically.

“A bug, a bug, a bug!” she was shouting. “A huge, giant, NASTY BUG!!!!!”

Crosbie, you were hot on her heels, visibly shaking in terror and clawing my legs in an effort to reach higher elevation.

“Alright, alright, just sit on the couch and I’ll take care of it,” I said, reaching for a roll of paper towels. You both have been known to consider ants “huge, giant, NASTY BUGS,” so I moved toward the table, expecting to find that a little speck of a creature had sent you running.

“Okay, where was it?” I asked as I got on my knees, pushing aside toys and books and leftover breakfast crumbs. “I’ll try to find it, but it’s probably already go- DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN, WHAT IS THAT????”

You both screamed afresh and this time I joined you. For I had stumbled upon the ugliest, nastiest, most terrifying creature my brain could have possibly conjured. All praise be to God for the fact that one of its hind legs was trapped beneath the table leg, for a quick Google search revealed that this was a cave cricket – also referred to as a “spricket,” due to the fact that it LOOKS like a giant, spotted spider, but JUMPS with the agility of a common cricket.

In other words: MY WORST NIGHTMARE WAS COMING TRUE.

Behold, the camel cricket. Run for your lives.

Paper towels would not suffice for this job. I needed a shoe, and a big one. Thankfully I wear a size 11, and my mammoth running shoes were still lying where I had tossed them in the corner the day before.

“Okay, I can do this,” I coached myself as the spricket’s beady little eyes stared back at me, its free legs clawing the air. “I’m a grown woman, for crying out loud. I got this. It’s just a bug. It’s just a bug. I can do this. I must protect my children. Just do this thing!”

I closed my eyes and smashed that spricket with every ounce of strength I could muster, screaming like a little girl all the while. How I managed to actually scoop it up in the paper towel (I’m shuddering just to type it) and carry it to the trash can, I will never know. Let’s just say I am now 100% certain miracles still happen.

The trauma was over, but none of us went near the kitchen for a few hours. What if there were more? What if that hind leg was still trapped and flopping under the table? What if the spricket somehow survived the shoe assault and was plotting its revenge from the depths of the trash can? I couldn’t go near its body. I just couldn’t.

So I took to social media and posted about the horror instead. I included a photo of the monster that had wreaked havoc on our morning, and soon I had a message from my friend Kelly sitting in my inbox:

Kelly: I need you to know that I will never sleep again knowing that such a thing as a spricket exists.

I shuddered again at the mere mention of the word and hammered out a response:

I’m just not sure I can live in a world where a spricket is an actual thing. Best part is, when the girls come wake me up during the night (every night) I lay down on the floor between their beds and fall asleep there. I MIGHT HAVE EATEN ONE OF THESE IN MY SLEEP. Take me, Jesus.

Kelly: My honest to goodness thought was, “Okay God, I know you’re sovereign over all creation and you like, know what you’re doing and stuff. But WHY the spricket? Why give us that??”

Right? How pathetic am I? I mean, persecution. Persecution is a real problem. We have people being murdered for their faith and I’m throwing in the towel over a cricket. This is why I pray all the time, “Lord, if the apocalypse ever goes down on my homefront, you gotta make me strong. PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR STRENGTH. I will fold like a fitted sheet if they throw sprickets at me.” Meaning it will be ugly and ridiculous and will end with me crumpled in a heap on the floor.

Kelly: I don’t know. I think even those being persecuted would be like, “AND THE SPRICKET WAS THE LAST STRAW.”

Lord, help us all.

_______________________________________________________________________

The spricket has now been in our trash can for over 24 hours, so I’m almost certain it won’t be reemerging to seek vengeance. Fairly certain, at least. Maybe “hopeful” would be the best term.

Just don’t think about it.

But the memory of our morning from hell has been seared into my consciousness like a hot iron on tender cowhide. Life will never again be the same.

We are survivors now, girls. We banded together and stared evil in the face. We pressed on through horror, uncertainty, and possible death (I most definitely would have died if one of those spindly legs had brushed my skin), and we came out on the other side better for our struggle. Stronger. Unified.

And the moral of the story is this: Danger is around every curve, my loves. You must always be ready to meet Jesus.

At all times, BE READY.

Because if I ever again encounter a spricket, I will most surely be sent shrieking to my grave. And my heart needs to know for certain that you two will join me in eternity someday.

Also, I adore you. But I will never again be sleeping on your floor.

I love you every day,

Mama

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