Praying With Bill

Meet Bill. Bill likes kids. Bill likes our kids. Our kids really like Bill.

And, now, I really like Bill, too.

Bill’s a praying mantis. I met Bill Saturday. I brought Bill inside to meet my family. We had a great time. We decided to keep Bill.

We bought some crickets for Bill. We spent $1.80. Those crickets lasted all week. For Bill.

But we look for other special treats for Bill, too. We gather flies, spiders and moths. The other day I saw a cricket in a parking lot. I tried to catch it. But it’s tricky to catch a wild cricket with bare hands.

Our boys like to pet Bill. Bill doesn’t like that.

Bill likes to watch the boys. He has gentle eyes. He turns his head like a robot. He likes to listen. His thin antennae are strong and trustworthy. His legs are quite agile. He has a curvy tummy.

Bill likes to walk around in James’ long curly hair. He likes to catch his own food. He likes it when we feed him with tweezers, too. Today he ate a piece of cat food.

He crawls on walls and windows. He’s pretty much your ordinary praying mantis.

Last night Bill laid an egg sack in his tank. In a few weeks, if he’s lucky, Bill will be a mother to a few hundred babies.

Four-year-old Henry already knows that the babies will eat their siblings, if they don’t get enough fruit flies.

Oh, Bill. She’s a good mantis.

My wife found another praying mantis tonight. He’s somewhere in the house now. I don’t know where. We will keep them away from each other. He will sleep in a cardboard box tonight.

Because if they mate, Bill might bite off its head afterward.

And how will we explain that to our boys?

The new mantis is much thinner and, unlike Bill, enjoys flying respectable distances. Overall, he’s much more active. Almost like he’s looking for something. Or maybe even someone.

Oh, Bill. Have you been praying for someone?

And just as I’m typing this, my wife comes across an article, during her research, which says a mantis dies after laying its egg sack. Though maybe not right away?

Oh, Bill. We’re praying, too.

16 thoughts on “Praying With Bill

    • Bill’s wanna-be mate didn’t make it. He died. And Bill’s lost a portion of two of his legs. But Bill goes on. His egg sack hasn’t cracked yet. And it may not.

      But Bill goes on.

      Yes, thanks for asking. I’ll let him, er, her know that someone was asking about her. Gotta love that Bill.

  1. Hi,
    I just found your blog through Spiritual Sundays and I read your post about gratitude and seeing and mud and faith. i liked it and i will read it again after i let it sink in for awhile. Then I started reading a bit more and found this post on Bill. I had a praying mantis too. Wally. Wally came from an egg case we bought and hatched with hundreds of his siblings in a jar in our kitchen. Wally lived outside, like he should have, until we found him one frosty morning clinging to our furnace vent to keep warm. i brought him in and bought grubs at the bait store. Wally made it until February…he was very old and had lost a few legs by then. He was fascinating. And I’m glad i got to know him.

    • They are wildly fascinating. I am very surprised by how much I’ve grown to like Bill. And it’s so neat your little mantis started as a baby. We have an egg sack currently in the cage, though we’ll have to wait to see if it was fertilized.

      Thanks for stopping by today — and for leaving your comment. I look forward to “seeing” you again. Many blessings.

  2. We love praying mantis around here, too — we find them frequently in the garden (although I admit, i have not invited them into my home.). How IS Bill? Is he (she?) still living?

    This post is wonderful — quirky and sweet.

    • Bill’s real good. Bill’s going to preschool tomorrow for show and tell. Henry’s excited. “Daddy, I’ll let the big kids hold Bill. But not the little kids. They might break him.”

      Bill will be just fine. The mantis is practically a prayer warrior!

      Thanks for your comment. Give my best to your mantis!

  3. I so respect the way you took Bill into your home and family. He is one of God’s precious living creatures and I know we are to show respect to them all. Bill is a great example of how we are supposed to be. Creatures of prayer. What a great post. Thank you and God bless.

  4. A few years ago, we were adopted by a homeless cat named Kiddy by the neighborhood kids. (I blame my wife for the adoption; she let Kiddy sleep in the garage when the temperatures plunged to zero one night, and Kiddy decided to stay.) I took Kiddy to the vet; she was kind of fat and my wife was worried (and the kids hopeful) that she was pregnant. Turned out Kiddy was just fat. And a boy.

    He did leave my wife a thank-you gift on the doorstep for the garage stay: a headless bunny. We didn’t ask him for details, and we hope he didn’t mind our immediate disposal of the gift.

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