WHAT SHOULD WE HAVE FOR DINNER?
Noah and I wheeled our cart around Costco, playing the same game we have for years. The game of how long can Noah Tetris himself in the cart with all of our groceries until he’s finally forced out.
We were playing the same fun game. Walking the same aisles we always do. Putting the same things in our carts that always get put there. Saying hello to all the same sample ladies. “What should we have for dinner?” I asked him as we started to pass the meat and seafood section. I had my mind on a rotisserie chicken, something we often get. Or a quick bake pizza, something we often get. Or a pork quesadilla, something we often make.
Just as I asked the question, both of our attention happened to land on a package of two ginormous dungenous crabs we were passing. “Crabs!” Noah shouted, more out of excitement that there were two dead alien-like creatures suddenly there to break up the monotony of our shopping trip that was just like every other shopping trip.
“Crabs,” I repeated back with a nod.
THAT’S ONE EXPENSIVE DINNER FOR A WEDNESDAY NIGHT.
“Why don’t we try crabs for dinner,” I said aloud, not really realizing I had said it.
“Yes, Dad! Yes! Let’s get the crabs!”
I looked at the price tag. $23 for two crabs. That’s one expensive dinner for a Wednesday night (BTW, I’m catching up these posts from when I actually started #365DaysToLive a few days ago).
I looked at Noah. He was suddenly abuzz with electricity that wasn’t there moments before.
I looked back at the price tag. $23 for two crabs. I guess that’s only $11.50 for each of us. “I don’t know.”
I looked back at Noah. “Please Dad, please let’s make crabs for dinner.”
I looked back at the crabs. I thought of how much fun we’d have. I thought of how much my seafood loving boy would love the taste of crab. I thought of how long it has been since I’ve eaten crab. I thought of putting on the new matching aprons we just bought and having a blast with it. I thought of the ridiculous fun it would be to crack those legs and claws open.
I looked back at the crabs. Hm. Only $11.50 each, for all that. Now that I thought of it, that was a bargain for what we’d both get out of our crab purchase by the end of the night.
I picked up the pack of crabs. Noah almost leapt out of the cart to get his hands on them.
“These are pretty expensive,” I said. He nodded. “They’re pretty fun to crack open and crab meat is yummy,” I said. “You willing to do the work? It might be a little frustrating at first.” He nodded and chirped out a commitment. “I’m 95% sure I have my steamer at home, but if it’s not there we have to take an extra trip to the storage unit. You gonna be cool with that?” Again, he eagerly agreed, even though he is not a fan of going to the storage unit when he could be doing something more more awesome instead. “And you’ll help me from beginning to end?”
“Dad, I’d do anything for these crabs right now.” And he meant it.
“Okay,” I said, handing him the package. He sat back and stared at it in wonder as we started making our way through the store again. “We’re steaming crabs for dinner.”
We bought the crabs. We took them home. We found the steamer. We YouTubed how to make the crab and how to eat the crab. And we did it.
And would you have guessed? Cooking and eating crabs with my kid was one of the most awesome things I’ve ever done with him. It was a blast from start to finish! Everything from Noah’s worried reluctance to drop the crabs in the steam, to teaching him one leg or one claw at a time how to get to the tender meat inside, to laughing ridiculously as somehow the biggest mess we’ve made in our kitchen yet began to form… It. Was. AWESOME.
I almost said no to crabs for dinner. As a parent, I do say no to a lot of things without always putting much thought into my answer. Any other day, it would have been an automatic no. Kids don’t need crab for dinner. Right? I didn’t need crab for dinner. Right? The same thing we always do for dinner would have been the thing we did, and our night would have been just as boring as it definitely would have been.
But what if I actually did only have 365 days left to live?
Would I ever say no to trying crab for dinner? Would I ever worry more about the few extra bucks and the extra mess more than I would worry about missing out on the experience? Would I ever worry that it was a certain night of the week? Heck, no.
And when the 365 days were up, would I feel any satisfaction or happiness looking back and remembering a night where we ate the same old thing? Would I even remember that night at all if we did do the same old thing? Probably not.
What I do know is that this was day two of the #365DaysToLive challenge, and I’ve already got a new memory that’ll go in my top 10 favorite memories with my kid so far. It was one of the most fun and best nights we’ve had in a very long time, and all for $11.50 each. Plus tax.
Dan Pearce | The Single Dad Laughing Blog