Lobster 101: Molting
Lobsters don’t grow the way people do. Unlike humans, a lobster has a rigid exoskeleton that it must get rid of before it can grow any larger.
During the molting and post-molt period, it is vital for lobsters to stay hidden because they are unable to protect themselves when they lack a hard exoskeleton. There is no definite period for how long it takes the new shell to harden…
-the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance
Dearest Wee Bee,
I have to be honest. When I first started thinking about just how I was going to write to you I had been thinking of calling this post “the case for being a turtle”, instead of the much more compelling title of “the case for being a lobster”.
(The turtle post might still be coming at you in the (near) future, but in the meantime did you know that when part of a turtle’s shell is injured or sick it sheds that part of itself so that it can heal?)
Animals do allllll of these incredibly fascinating things all of the time, just going about in their daily lives, that we miss if we don’t pay attention.
And sitting here, writing this blog post to you, so early in the morning, I remembered back to our very first trip together (first time in an airplane! first time touching the ocean! first time tackling a new part of the world together!) last summer in Prince Edward Island when we did a lobster fishing boat tour.
There were an awful lot of firsts on that trip. And mostly I remember being simultaneously elated and excited and ridiculously exhausted the entire trip.
And…I also remember mentally knocking myself down for the ridiculous exhaustion part. I remember thinking to myself: this is your first trip with your beautiful wee beauty- ENJOY IT- don’t be overwhelmed with exhaustion.
You know what I was forgetting, dear girl? I was forgetting that by taking that first trip together, we were growing. You were learning and growing in the bigger world around you, and I was learning and growing about what it’s like to be a single mama on vacation with a small child.
Because the truth is…maybe humans are more like lobsters than we realize.
In order to grow, we have to shed our too small shells. And I think, for the most part, we know this. But I don’t think we honour it. We don’t give ourselves as much time as we need in a quiet, protected place while we grow our new shells. Because “there is no definite period for how long it takes the new shell to harden”- not for lobsters, but also not for humans.
And so, my wee beauty, when you hit points in life where you get uncomfortable in your shell, when it feels small and too tight, like it doesn’t fit right, do yourself a favour and give yourself protected time to shed your shell and grow a new one. Because having the capability to recognize when we’re in need of changing and growing, and being able to actually change and grow? That’s an incredible gift we have, just because we’re humans. And with this gift comes a responsibility to take especially extra good care of ourselves so that we CAN do it.
With so much love as we learn and grow and shed our shells together,