With the new school year upon us, I have to admit I’m really dreading one thing—lunch. Not mine, my kids. They have never been great eaters, but when left to their own devices at school, they turn into terrible eaters. Horrible eaters. Nonexistent eaters. They basically eat nothing when not under my watchful (they would say nagging) eye.
But that doesn’t stop me from packing beautiful, healthy lunches every day. An exercise in total futility, I know, but what’s a mom to do? I can’t send them to school without lunch, can I? Wait … can I?
So there I am every morning like an idiot filling their lunch boxes with billion dollar organic goodies from Whole Foods. Lovingly wrapping sandwiches. Cubing cheese. Leaving little notes telling them how much I love them and reminding them to drink their Sensible Sipper juice boxes. I send them off with a kiss and a “Remember to eat your lunch!” and cross my fingers that I’ll find an empty lunchbox at the end of the day.
But that’s not what I find. What I find is a mess. A mushed up nasty mix of packaging and smushed banana (or something that looks a lot like banana). On closer examination I realize they have eaten basically nothing, but somehow managed to pulverize the contents so they’re totally unsalvageable. $7 worth of food down the drain.
And to add to the misery, I’m also delivered an incredibly cranky child who clearly hasn’t eaten a bite since breakfast. When I say, “Eat something out of your lunchbox on the way home,” my kids will refuse and claim everything in there is gross. And who can blame them, it is gross now that they’ve decimated it.
I’ve tried lecturing them. Tried telling them there are people in the world who don’t have enough food. But it all goes in one privileged ear and out the other. I’ve tried talking to their teachers, not that it’s their responsibility. I’ve bribed, I cajoled. All to no avail. It’s been so nice over the summer to eat lunch together as a family. To actually have happy children who aren’t raging like starving dogs at the end of the day. But I know all good things come to an end.
Come August 27th I’ll be back at it. Packing beautiful lunches that no one eats. But hey, maybe one day I’ll be surprised and open an empty lunchbox at 3pm. A mom’s gotta dream!