“Starving kids in Africa would love that pork chop,” my mom stated, twirling her spaghetti around her fork.
I rolled my eyes and huffed and puffed. I fidgeted. I kicked the table leg.
“Then give me an envelope. They can have it,” I narrowed my eyes.
Bad move, Bethany.
In one fell swoop, my plate was removed from the table, I consumed a tablespoon of peanut butter, and my mom swatted my heinous hind end and sent me to bed a full hour before sunset.
And that’s the way it went on more than one occasion. My mom didn’t tolerate whining, and she didn’t put up with picky eaters. Sure, she let me eat my spaghetti sauce separate from my noodles. And she didn’t make me eat green beans very often since they were my absolute least favorite food on the planet. But by and large, my mom cooked, and we ate. Period.
The only other choice was to eat a big spoonful of peanut butter and head straight to bed. As an adventurous, fearless, and athletic girl, this option was usually more dreaded than downing canned spinach.
Despite its employment as a discipline tool, I grew to love peanut butter. My favorite sandwich is a fried peanut butter and marshmallow creme pile of goodness. My favorite snack is peanut butter and graham crackers. My favorite childhood snack is Cracker Jacks. My favorite dishes at most American-Chinese restaurants are pad thai and kung pao chicken.
Clearly, I’m nuts about peanuts.
But after having a severe allergic reaction on Monday, most likely to peanut butter, I’m grieving the loss of all that delicious stuff. It sounds silly, but I’m really going to miss peanut butter. Not a huge fan of meat, I literally ate peanut butter on a daily basis—partly for the protein, but mostly for the pure love of the stuff. I mourn the loss of the opportunity to bake the most amazing peanut butter cookies on the planet for my daughter someday. I will not be able to mimic the best discipline tool ever for picky eaters, employed many times by my mother—eat a spoonful of peanut butter and go to bed early. I won’t pleasure in the delightful combinations of peanut butter and caramel, peanut butter and banana, peanut butter and chocolate… alas.
After moping around for a few days, though, I decided to do myself a real solid and put my big girl panties on even though I honestly didn’t feel like it. I started reading labels on items in our pantry. We scoured the shelves of Wal-Mart for peanut butter alternatives and found a few substitutes. I vowed to look upon this situation as an opportunity to improve my diet and to shed the 10 stubborn pounds of baby weight that have perched themselves happily around my waist.
A wise woman I know once said, “Stop making mountains out of molehills. It’s like pole vaulting over mouse turds.” It’s just peanut butter, after all.
I don’t want to spend any more time missing what I can’t have. I’d rather enjoy what I can and be grateful for what I have.
Excuse me while I savor this almond butter, please.