The day I discovered I'm no longer afraid of spiders.
I was outside spreading some dirt on my new little plants (keep going, fellas! You can do it!), and this HUGE spider came running out from under my leg. HUGE. Like, a 50 cent piece. Brown, and fat, and kind of orangey from the mud, and 5 years ago (3?) I would have run screaming and hid in my bed for a few days.
I've been telling the kids that we do not harm creatures when we are out in their habitat. The outside is their home, and even if they are ants or grasshoppers they deserve the right to their lives. (Mosquitos are the glaring exception to this rule, of course, since there is no really good reason for mosquitos to be alive.)
So it turns out that it I must have believed my own spin *imagine that* and so when a huge, honkin spider came racing out from behind me, I simply expressed my surprise ("HOLY CRAP!"), and as I danced away onto one of the stepping stones, I had three rational thoughts. Like so. He was running away. He is small(er than me, although a giant of a spider, as I said before). And I have a big rake. I win.
Pretty proud of those rational thoughts there. Three of them in a row instead of blank terror.
Now, were this encounter to take place in my house, I suppose the tide would have turned. I tell the kids that once they come into my house, truce is over. But what would I do with Mr. Spidey? Not touching it (come on - not afraid doesn't mean crazy-town), so what next? Too big to squish. Too big to try to gather up somehow in a newspaper or on a broom. Suddenly the running-for-bed scenario seems reasonable. So okay, I might still have a HEALTHY RESPECT for giant spiders when they are in my house. But today, it wasn't in my house, and I didn't run screaming. And I think that's progress. :)
(Edit: Went and looked it up with the search term "large spiders of North Carolina" and found out, it's a wolf spider. Is belated terror ok?)