In 2014, I lifted up a stack……of about 25 flyers and 57 silverfish scattered away. I couldn’t tell you how long the papers had been there but I can tell you I come from a long line of women (aka one woman) who can’t possibly throw out a paper or flyer without looking at it first, even if said news or sales are approximately 7 years out of date.
But the silverfish. All 57 of them scattered away as I screamed, in shock and denial.
From Day 1, I have been pounding it into my children’s heads that all creatures, big and slimy, have a right to life. Don’t go out of your way and stomp on ants. Scoop the spider up and throw it outside. Yes it is counter intuitive to our meat eating lifestyle and what actually happens to a spider when you throw him outside in -45’c weather without a coat is concerning, but the “Thou Shalt Not Squish” commandment has held firm all the same.
I’m not sure I knew where those silverfish were going and what the long term ramifications were for letting them beat it but I knew in that moment that I had to practice what I preached and let them be.
In 2015, I found a box in my bedroom with old greeting cards. Congratulatory cards on my birth. First birthdays. First party invitations. And 96 silverfish.
Apparently in these moments my default brain setting is look away and definitely do not connect this time with the time before and perhaps you should start building the category entitled “You have a fucking silverfish problem”. Nah. Later.
In early 2016, I lifted a wet towel off of the floor (had only been there an afternoon) and 6 silverfish escaped. My brain slowly started to kick in and the “problem” siren lightly rang (like a dove call) and I decided in that moment it was time to deal with this, but with humanity.
I scooped up every one I could find and whipped them outside my bedroom window. If you lived in my neighborhood at the time, you would have seen my hand out my window flapping a piece of paper clean (actually it was a piece of my kid’s art – re-purposed) 6x (sometimes more) every night.
Two months later, in 2016, I pulled the sheets off of my bed and found 6 silverfish having a nap.
I officially declared war. At 10:30pm at night, I stripped my bed, vacuumed all around it and informed my husband that we are officially hobos. No. Worse than hobos. We were suburban dump dwellers.
In two weeks we were headed on our first family road trip and I let my family know that if we did not scrub this house from top to bottom, we would not be leaving. I let my kid’s know if they ever saw a silverfish, squish with a vengeance.
And WB struggled. My anti-kill stance had rooted so deeply into his morals that this new side of Mom and new directive was upsetting. It took him a good full year before he admitted he had been able to do it. I was proud, and also sad.
I still tout the “Thou Shalt Not Squish” mantra to my kids and I think they get the difference, but it is really hard when you have to put aside your beliefs, as ridiculous as they may be for others, in the name of the greater good. Having to teach to kids the grey area of life sucks.
I never thought a blasted silverfish would give me that insight.