I have to admit, I used to hate packing school lunches. One morning I was super tired after not having slept well, and I was rushing to throw together something edible in his lunchbox. I was aggravated, but then something dawned on me. It was easy to hand him a few dollars each day to buy lunch, but I'd stopped doing that quite a while ago. And there was an important reason why I had stopped doing that - one I needed to remind myself of in this moment of complete annoyance. After having spent countless lunch periods with our son in elementary school, I'd tasted one too many pieces of cardboard chicken or rubbery cheese sauce. I knew I could do better. I knew I wanted to. Hence, the morning ritual of packing school lunches began.
In the midst of that one morning of aggravation, I needed to get back to the basics. I realized I hadn't put my best foot (or fork) forward. I started doing a lot of research on nutrition and healthier food options. I started planning lunches ahead of time so there wouldn't be any mid-morning surprises ("Yikes, we're out of milk and it's 6:00 a.m.!"). I also looked around for containers that would bring it all together, while also cutting down on paper waste.
I like to mix things up. Sure, the kid still gets sandwiches and chips here and there. Leftovers from meals are often revisited, and I like to throw a curve ball in there at least once a week (something he hasn't tried yet). I quickly learned that he'd eat almost anything that didn't contain cucumber or fresh tomato. That gave me tons of options! Over time, we've had some misses, though mostly hits.
When Noah started middle school, kids at his lunch table started making remarks.
"What is that?! What the heck is quiche?" they'd ask.
Or sometimes they'd just give funny looks and giggle. I asked Noah if that bothered him.
"Not at all," he said, rather matter of factly.
And then I asked, "Which do you like better: buying your lunches or having mommy's lunches?"
Without a second of hesitation, he blurted out, "That's a no brainer! Your lunches, of course!"
So I said, "But what about when they think your lunches are weird sometimes?"
He simply smiled and said, "I don't care a bit. They just don't have an awesome mom like I do."
And that was really all the reason I ever needed.
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