Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Last Lunch

It seems that when you have children everything is marked by firsts. Their first smile, their first word, their first steps, first day of school, first sleep over, first date, first time driving, first prom, etc. All their milestones are marked and photographed and celebrated. As they should be.

Then they grow up and things are marked by lasts. Last school concert, last basketball game, last prom, last day of high school. My family has now hit them all. Our baby is graduating.

Yesterday I made her last school lunch.

For 14 years I got up every school day to make and pack lunches for my daughters. And to be honest, I would often bitch about this. Not out loud. Never to them. Just a silent “I can’t wait for this to be done.” Frankly, it’s hard to always come up with something they like, and to mix it up so they are not bored with the same food every week. For 14 years.

But for some reason this last lunch hit me harder than the other lasts. Maybe because this was always my opportunity to be creative and insert something a little special into their day. Maybe because little things mean a lot - one likes her sandwiched cut in triangles, the other in rectangles. One likes mayo, the other mustard. One likes red apples, the other only green. And I would often find something a little special to tuck into the lunch box - a thing of Pez, a little poem, Goldfish bread, candy hearts, exotic fruit, etc.

And then when they got to lunch, I would get a text message - “thanks mom, I love you too.”

Yesterday I made her last school lunch.

I am going to miss it.


  1. Awwwwww.

    You can make my lunch everyday if you want.

  2. Be careful what you wish for . . .

  3. Yes. The thing I miss most is cooking for my family. I think there is a huge emotional connection between food and love.

    It's nice that they appreciated your efforts.

  4. Last year, my daughter's therapist informed me--in no uncertain terms--that my then-9-year-old needed to be making her own lunch. And that it was WAY past time for her 14-year-old brother to be making his.

    My children are exceedingly picky. Neither of them will eat sandwiches. They don't like cold food, but the thermos never keeps it hot enough. Blah, blah, blah....

    I was SO relieved when the therapist said they had to do it themselves! Now I just get to worry about making them breakfast...

    All of that to say...your kids are lucky that they didn't need a therapist or you would have missed out all these years! ;-)

  5. It's wrenching, isn't it? Those little things, those little touchstones of parenthood are surprisingly dear to us.

  6. Doxy - how much did you have to pay the therapist to say that?

    As soon as my kids could pour milk they got their own breakfast. But I always did lunch, I don't know why.

    Still don't I remember something about a cinnamon bun?

    e - wrenching, yes. I'm seeing a lot more wrenching in the next two months. I will be commiserating a lot with you.

  7. Still don't I remember something about a cinnamon bun?

    Yes, yes you did.

    I fell off the wagon once or twice. What can I say? ;-)

    I had to pay that therapist a LOT to say that, unfortunately. Out-of-network.... :-(