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July Rewind: Have a little lobster

I love the opportunity to reflect back and see where I’ve been as a parent and as a blogger.

This week, one of Mama Kat’s prompts for her Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop was to recycle a post from July of any year that you’ve been blogging.

I found this one right away. It’s always been one of my favorites…enjoy!


Mama’s Losin’ It
 July 2011

While on vacation visiting family in Northern California, the boys and I ended up having lunch with my aunt at a lovely waterfront restaurant in Monterey.

Now, while most of our restaurant dollars end up being spent on pizza and drive-thru orders, my boys have had meals in restaurants where the servers take your order.

They know how to use a cloth napkin.

They know how to use silverware.

They even know how to order from a real menu, not one up on the wall.

But one thing I have never had the opportunity to teach them is the dangers of a little phrase called “market price”.

Thing One had a medication change over our vacation that allowed his appetite to come roaring back with a vengeance.

And as glad as I am that he was eating like a normal teenage boy again, I didn’t see the events of this particular lunch coming until they slapped me in the face.

You can see it coming already, can’t you?

I asked the Things what they thought they wanted to order. Thing Two had settled on a chicken Alfredo pasta dish (yes, we were inches from fresh seafood, but he didn’t bite). Thing One nonchalantly suggested that he was debating between the Steak and Lobster Tail dinner or the King Crab legs and Lobster Tail dinner.

Both of which were listed as being “market price.”

Which is really restaurant code for:

If you

have to ask,

you can’t afford it.

I may have cringed.

But I continued perusing the menu, finally selecting a delicious sounding fresh shrimp salad sandwich on ciabatta bread.

I turned back to Thing One and said, “Have you decided?”

He didn’t answer.

And then I realized that I had a moment in front of me that I’d never get back.

I had an

opportunity to teach.

I really couldn’t afford either one of those dishes for him. Well at least not without causing havoc with our official budget.

And I knew it.

But I also knew that he’s a Midwestern boy who’s never ever tasted lobster tail before.

And if you’re going to enjoy lobster tail, you’d damn well better do it in a place where you know it came out of the ocean not too long ago.

Besides, he was seriously hungry.

I knew he’d eat it.

And finally, it was a chance to show my kids that sometimes, even if you can’t really afford it, you should be generous with others.

So, I turned to him and said, “If you want one of the lobster tail dinners, please order it.”

He did. Without really understanding “market price.”

The server went off to determine the market price of the meal. He reported back momentarily that the market price of the King Crab and Lobster Tail dinner was $69.99.

I thought Thing One’s eyes were going to bug outta his head.

I asked him if he would promise to eat it.

He gulped and said he would.

I confirmed the order with the server who promptly left to place our order with the kitchen.

Then, Thing One sank under the enormity of what he’d ordered.

He knew that we are on a budget.

He had an inkling that $69.99 is precariously close to our entire grocery budget for a week.

And he felt terrible.

I got his attention and said, “Look, honey, I wouldn’t have let you order it if I weren’t okay with you having it. Please just enjoy it. It would be a shame to spend that kind of money on a meal and have you not enjoy it because you’re feeling badly.”

He still didn’t perk up.

And when that glorious meal arrived and was so enormous and lovely, he perked up and offered to share it with the entire table.

We savored every bite.

It was a lovely lunch and from his lobster ordering experience my boy learned three* things:

  1. Fresh lobster is to die for.
  2. Sometimes the experience is worth the price.
  3. You’ll never regret being truly generous.