I almost always pack my kids’ lunches for school. It wasn’t until my oldest daughter was in second grade that we broke the packed lunch streak. My girls often came home drooling about how delicious the school lunch smelled. One day I caved. I let go of the thought of the extra preservatives, the sugar in the chocolate milk, and my own need to pack a little love for my kids in the form of a sandwich- and every once in a while, the got lunch from school.
Since the girls have gone back to school, we’ve gone back to strictly packed lunches from home. The girls hadn’t even mentioned school lunches- maybe because of covid restrictions. Adi’s class doesn’t even eat in the cafeteria.
But then, one day last week, Adi came home with the purple and green elementary lunch calendar for the month of January (they only returned to in person school on January 19th after the holiday break). I pulled it from her folder and tossed it in the counter without a second thought.
Later that night, as the girls climbed into bed, I noticed Adi curled up with the lunch calendar. She was carefully reading and studying. “Is tomorrow the 21st?” she asked.
When I told her it was, she said, “ it’s cheese pizza tomorrow…can I please please please have cheese pizza at school?”
I tried to distract her, thoughts of Covid particles dancing on pizza springing to mind. “I already packed your lunch for tomorrow,” I replied.
She continued persisting as she lay in her bed cuddling the menu. I finally gave in. She seemed really excited about cheese pizza.
The next afternoon, on my way home from work, I called home to check in on my family. I’ve found this sometimes gives everyone their own quiet minute to tell me about their day. It sometimes helps with the chaos that unleashes when I walk through the door. Wren got on the phone first. “The menu was wrong,” she blurted put. “Adi had CHICKEN NUGGETS for lunch.” She waited for my reaction…always the one to report news she thinks might get someone else in trouble.
“Did Adi like them?” I asked, suddenly worried that she didn’t and maybe she was so hungry at school that day…and for the disappointment of the girl who went to bed dreaming about the promise of cheese pizza from the school cafeteria.
Of course Adi loved the chicken nuggets… but she hasn’t asked for school lunch since. Maybe once was enough to get it out of her system.