Thursday, June 3, 2010

What Will Happen To Me When I Stop Making Lunch?

I can’t think of a family ritual more mundane and more emotionally charged than packing a child’s lunch. I’ve begun paying attention lately since my daughter will graduate from high school this week. This empties my nest. It also ends my tenure as a world-class lunch maker.

It wasn’t always so. Being an author and consultant put me on the road a lot, so their father shared the lunch making duties. The kids report to this day that he was a pragmatist, not an epicurean. Hence, my kids learned the art of negotiating. My son regails that he once learned to sell raw carrots in a swap for a candy bar--life skills made possible by his father’s food values.

This weekend, I lost myself to emotion in the peanut butter and jelly section of the grocery store.  Whose rite of passage is this anyway--my daughter’s or mine? I can’t be sure. But I am sure of one thing: lunch making is a ritual I’ll miss, and other mothers tell me the same. In a world rife with chaos, being able to deliver a simple concrete act of comfort—a well-balanced lunch—is golden. It surprises me that more packaged goods brands don’t seize the day around lunch making.

Who makes your lunch?


karen hanrahan said...

as kids we were thrust into lunch making duty for four, we took turns in that we each got one week per month. We all became skilled at wrapping just so with waxpaper and writing each others name on the thick of the fold. I despised making my siblings lunch. I could never remember the rules, brother liked his jam on the edges, sister preferred it in the middle and truth be told when i got really mad at a particular sibling i'd leave the in between of the sandwich bread blank. Of course tit for tat and our sandwiches for each other became sick sibling pranks. I fear that my loathing for lunch making carried into my parenting. I made them make their own, somehow feeling like it taught them responsibilty. What a memory chord your post struck in me. Perhaps I missed out on the parental ceremony of it all. Perhaps my kids became experts in the art of PBJ

Patricia Martin said...

I think we all decide which rituals to abide based on what gives us pleasure. For you--PBJ ritual was more pain than pleasure. But I bet there were other rituals to which you clung. What were they?

karen hanrahan said...


kitchen table talks
safe structured place to get things "out on the table"

fork cheers - clink, clink before the evening meal, acknowledge meal time/together, good food -- silly

cooking lessons - something to take with you when you cook for yourself

next lesson : beans 101

when younger of course - bedtime stories - nap time stories too

story telling period - tell me one out loud

now that they are older i was just mentioning/thinking outloud what might be new things we might do as a family

my daughter recently shared how she misses our columbus day treks into the city - i thought they hated those!!