Monday, September 20, 2010

The first school lunch

Tomorrow is the big day and I think I’m just as excited as River is. I had him help me to prepare his lunch today so that it would be familiar to him when he opened his lunchbox for the first time. I splurged on this $40 lunch box. It took some work to convince Mark and it’s an unusual purchase for me. But I thought that it could last for years, I liked that was set up to make it easy to carry homemade, versus packaged food, and I wanted him to have a little something that might make him feel special.

His first meal is going to be lasagna with prosciutto and two pieces of broccoli, yogurt, raisins, an apple and three mini rice cakes. When I showed it to Mark, he reminded me how I said I wasn’t the type to make fancy lunches. With the exception of the lasagna, which I made last week and froze, nothing else took any work. I just pulled a couple of things out of the fridge and the pantry and stuck them in the box, then filled the water bottle.

There is a small part of me that wants him to feel loved and believes that having a nice lunch will give him that feeling. Mark didn’t think so.

“Does papa love you River?” Mark asked him.

“Yes, and mama does too,” he said.

So papa still receives love without any involvement in lunch. He is correct. But I still remember the lunches I carried to elementary school, that were prepared by my mom. I recall a slice of white bread, a slice of processed American cheese, a pickle, and apple and perhaps an Oreo or two. I think there was some milk in a thermos that would sometimes leak, for I remember milk and/or pickle juice occasionally contaminating the other items. I remember the school lunch seeming delicious in comparison and I felt it was quite a luxury when I got to buy it.

Sometimes I would eat the bulk of my packed lunch on my way to school and wind up with not much left for lunchtime. It wasn’t a lunch that made me feel loved. It was usually the same, it didn’t involve much preparation, I wanted more to eat, and I was envious of the kids who were sent to school with big fat sandwiches, jelly beans or other treats.

Since I don’t plan to send River with a lot of treats, I hope that a cool box and a meal he’s excited about will make him feel OK when he sees other kids with packages of Fritos or lunchables.

Tomorrow morning we’ll be up early, I’ll make oatmeal with raisins and milk, then we will set off to walk to the first day of “school.” My little baby is moving out into the bigger world.

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