|"...And then, the King smote all of the princesses' suitors..."|
Let me paint a little picture of heroics for you.
The four of us- Peej, Nora, Zuzu, and myself- were sitting and having a lovely dinner. Well, "lovely" might be a loose term. In fact, it had gotten downright stressful, due to the fact that Nora was bouncing around her chair like a pinball and Susannah was laughing like a loon at her sister's antics.
"Where is her booster seat?" P.J. wondered aloud, less than calmly.
I reminded him that it was still in the backyard from two nights' prior, when we had a [fantastic] barebecue with friends. It had been sitting out there, just waiting for someone to remember it and return it to its rightful kitchen chair. (But nope, we're that lazy; we'd rather repeatedly scold a two year-old for not sitting still than walk outside and spend the fourteen seconds hooking it back up inside.)
Eventually, Peej capitulated and went to get it. Nora was fastened. Susannah was subdued. Dinner was finished and P.J. excused himself from the table. After he left the room, I cleared a couple of dishes to the sink. Coming back, I saw that Nora had already begun to disentangle herself from the booster's buckle.
I also saw a spider.
A gigantic one.
The thing was a mere inch from her back and neck and had crawled out from the underside of the booster seat while I watched in horror. Now, I'd never say that I had a crippling fear of spiders, but this hitchhiker was mammoth. No exaggeration, its body was roughly the size of the top joint of a man's thumb.
And it was fast. Really, really fast.
I swallowed a scream (MUST'NT SHOW EXTREME FEAR IN FRONT OF THE IMPRESSIONABLE YOUTHS) and choked out a wimpy "P...J..."
He came bolting back in (with his sonic Spidey Sense that his wife's bravery had- once again- faiiiiiled) to find me gasping and flailing at Nora's booster seat.
"What, Keely, what?"
I stuttered and pointed to her chair. He leaned over to see what was wrong and unwittingly placed his hand right next to the hairy, beastly thing.
"OH MY- P.J., NO- THE CHAIR, THE CHAIR, THE THING ON THE CHAIR, YOUR HAND!!!"
And P.J., glancing down, did a neat shuffle step and made a sound that, while not a scream, was pitched slightly higher in his register than normal.
Nora, still struggling with the buckle, looked up in confusion. "What're you doing, Mommy/Daddy?" (Her time-saving nickname for the both of us.)
"Take her, take her- while I..." P.J. inched closer to the thing with a piece of scrap paper (which, admittedly, was way smaller than the spider.) I fumbled with her buckle like I was rescuing her from the path of an oncoming train. P.J. grabbed at the spider, only to find that it was still moving. Really. Fast.
I stood back with Nora in one arm, blocking the blissfully unaware (and still happily eating) Zuzu. Meanwhile, P.J. was having his own dilemma, being the barefoot hippie that he is. You know, the whole "live and let live" thing? But, adding to that mantra was the knowledge that- "Keely, it's jumping! It's JUMPING! IT'S JUMPING! Is it still in my hand?! It's getting away!"
So he acted fast. And. He. Crushed. It.
I was- and am- stupidly impressed. Because I cannot imagine that killing with his bare hands was on that night's agenda. But- and here's the crucial part- it could never be on mine.
Peej- You just keep leveling up in this video game called 'Being A Dad.' And I'm grateful.
Because, seriously, the girls and I would still be sitting there just emoting at the spider. Well, except for Susannah. She was really hungry that night. But in the future, we'll regale her with tales of that night's bravery.
(Happy Father's Day.)