My daughter is a rough-and-tumble kind of girl; full of curiosity and wonder and always on a quest for adventure. Almost as soon as she began walking, she also developed expert bug catching skills. No rock has been left unturned since, and the little bug catcher kit I bought her was worth every penny tenfold. As far as she’s concerned, running is better than walking (she’s got the scrapes and bruises to prove it), dirty equals fun, and puddles are meant for splashing in.

Examining an interesting looking caterpillar. (Photo Credit: C. Corrigan)

Examining an interesting looking caterpillar. (Photo Credit: C. Corrigan)

On a recent family outing to the Beardsley Zoo I found myself in awe of her inquisitive, fearless spirit. We took a camel ride and she didn’t so much as flinch while hoisting herself up onto the camel’s back. I was more nervous about her falling off than she was! And then there were the creepy crawlies that one of the zoo’s employees had in little containers on display for all who would dared to come near. Caroline did more than that. She held a snake, let a walking stick crawl all over her, and even held a tarantula!

Lots of creepy crawlies! A walking stick, snack, and tarantula. (Photo Credit: C. Corrigan)

Lots of creepy crawlies! A walking stick, snake, and tarantula. (Photo Credit: C. Corrigan)

Now, I don’t mind that many insects but I.HATE.SPIDERS. They give me a major case of the heebie jeebies. But on this day I decided to take a lesson from my daughter and, for lack of a better phrase, put my big girl panties on. I let the man at the zoo put the tarantula on my shoulder! Part of me wanted to do it just to prove to myself (and maybe my husband who teases me every time I ask him to kill a spider for me) that I could. However, a bigger part of me allowed this massive, furry arachnid to crawl across my shoulder because of my desire to be more like my 3-year-old daughter.

I actually did it! I let a tarantula crawl on my shoulder! (Photo credit: J. Corrigan)

I actually did it! I let a tarantula crawl on my shoulder! (Photo credit: J. Corrigan)

I used to be more like her when I was young and somehow I lost some of my sense of adventure as I grew older. I don’t want that to happen to Caroline. I know many things will change about her as years go by, but I hope she will always be the girl who isn’t afraid to hunt for bugs and get dirty in the process.

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