The Crabby Cure: Learning to Lighten Up
By Kim Newberry
Seafood is like jewelry: enticing, but too dear for my daily shopping. Iím picky, too. My granddaddy was a Mississippi fisherman, and I was raised on fresh crab, shrimp and fish. Itís hard to pay high prices for seafood with that ďnot so fresh feelingĒ after its journey to the Rockies.
But I was entranced by the gorgeous spiny crab legs behind the grocery store glass. I had a coupon. They were on sale. I rationalized that one crab dinner costs the same as two fast food trips. Wasnít I supposed to eat more Omega-3-rich seafood? Before I knew it, I was planning my side dishes (okay, butter).
My kids were excited about our feast. I set my largest pot to boil. I couldnít find crab crackers, so I washed off my husbandís pliers (he was in Iraq and would never know). I rounded out my fighting gear with the handle of a case knife and a fork that after our meal would resemble modern art. The meat was flaky, sweet and juicy. My kids chirped like baby birds, ďMore crab! More crab!Ē I laughed, whacked, cracked and enjoyed their enthusiasm. We ate until we rolled on the floor, full and smiling. Crabs made the day.
Iím glad I didnít wait for a special occasion to splurge. Iíd been edgy, self-absorbed, tired, and overly sensitive. I needed to lighten up and do something just for fun. I couldnít change the difficult circumstances in my life, but I could work on my attitude. I decided my children deserve better, and so do I.
Our crab fest was the first in a series of silly indulgences. We played belly dancing music and danced with silk scarves. We camped in a tent in the living room. We set up a village using train tracks, doll house pieces and stuffed animals. We had a tea party with our patient dog (she even wore a hat). We hunted teddy bears in the dark with flashlights. I let the kids use my fancy scented lotions. We made cookies with Halloween cutters and Easter colors. We played dress-up and acted out skits. We ate raisins in plastic champagne glasses. We dyed our bath water electric blue. We laid on the grass and played with earthworms. We blew up balloons. My daughter and I wore our hair in matching pigtails to the store. We painted signs for each otherís rooms. We adopted a kitten. We claimed every Thursday as Pajama Day.
I want to enjoy my babies before they head to school and we have few free days together. We are worth it. By learning to play more, to lighten up, to really pay attention to my kids, I have claimed the gifts of joy and discovery that God has given me. I feel like a better and more grateful mom. I pray that I can keep this renewed focus -- even when crab is not on sale.