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Packing Love

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By Kimara - Posted on 19 January 2009

When I was a child, my mother usually packed our lunch for school. I recall looking at the school hot lunch menu with my mom, and picking and choosing the lunches I would like to buy. For the most part, I preferred packed lunches…you knew what you were getting…or at least mostly. Sometimes there would be a surprise. Like occasionally she’d make scrambled egg sandwiches. In an effort to reproduce breakfast, she’d slather grape jelly on a piece of toast, scoop a heap of scrambled eggs on top, and cover it with another piece of jellied toast. I remember the first time I unpacked one of those babies…apparently there’s some type of chemical reaction that occurs when the acid in grape jelly commingles with the sulfur in eggs turning the eggs a lovely “gangrene green”. Looking at the kids around me you could observe several undulating torsos indicative of emanate retching that only occurs when a digestion system is in turmoil. Apparently, the appearance of the sandwich produced widespread nausea.

Them: Eeeeeewwww. You’re not really going to eat that, are you?

Me: (With a quick sniff and a shrug, took a mighty bite.)

At this point poor Joyce, who had the constitution of a first trimester preggo, went running out of the lunchroom with her hand over her mouth. But honestly, despite its unorthodox appearance, it really was a very good sandwich! (Unfortunately my children shared Joyce's aversion to scrambled eggs and grape jelly sandwiches, alas, missing a truly wondrous gastronomic experience!)

But the thing I remember most about my brown bag lunches wasn’t the occasional Twinkie or the waxed paper that kept our lunches fresh or even the green egg sandwiches, it was the bite that was missing from every sandwich my mom ever packed for us. I remember asking my mom why she did this. Her answer, “I need to make sure they’re okay.” I don’t know…as a kid that somehow made sense. I assumed it was some quality control thing she did. All I know is every time I unwrapped a sandwich, and saw my mom’s signature bite mark, I felt loved.

A note about the bite marks…it wasn’t until much later that I learned a dark truth about my mom…she was, no is, a lunchaholic. My mom loved everything about lunch. She liked the break in the day. She enjoyed the peace and solitude of having an undisturbed meal when we were at school and my dad was at work. And, she adored sandwiches! I’m willing to bet, if there was only one food my mom could eat for the rest of her life, it would be a sandwich. So, truth be told, when she took a bite out of our sandwiches, she wasn’t checking the mayo to mustard ratio or the freshness of the deli meats, she was indulging her addiction to lunch! But being fair, putting a sandwich in front of a lunchaholic would be no different then exposing a virgin's neck to a vampire…who’ll notice a little nibble, right? Actually, I guess we should be grateful she was able to stop at a single bite!

But when I began packing lunches for my children, even though the hideous truth about my mom had surfaced, I couldn’t help recalling how close I felt to my mom every time I unwrapped a sandwich and saw the bite missing. So, although I didn’t share my mom’s addiction to lunch, I would take a lone bite out of my children’s sandwiches. When they asked me why, I’d say, “It’s a kiss I’ve packed for you.” I hope they felt the love!

BTW…despite my mom’s infatuation with sandwiches, I know she packed love in our lunch everyday!

 

Love is everywhere and just around us. The only missing is we're too lazy to share and give it to others. - Paramount Song

Another perk of homeschooling... hot lunches at Gammy's most days. I have not had to pack the kids a lunch yet... except for the occasional family picnic.

But my mom had this signature smiley face that she put on EVERYTHING we owned. Soccer balls, thermoses, lunch bags, jackets, books, etc. My stuff felt naked without that smile... even in high school. So now as I label the kids' stuff... magically the smiley face appears. I just can't help it... and it always makes me smile.

Hehe! Thanks for the smile. I'm sorry, but I'd be high tailing it out of the room with Joyce! Eeewww is right!

I also had to laugh at the whole bite out of the sandwich thing. I think of how many times my mom told me she was doing something for my own good. Like when I use to get a milk shake, she'd always take a big scoop of the whipped cream off the top and tell me she was making sure it hadn't soured. I bought it too. I'd wait and eagerly ask, "Is it okay, Mommy, can I eat it?" Usually, she'd say "yes" but sometimes she'd say she wasn't sure and have to take another taste!

This has been our first year of packing lunches. My son goes to Catholic school and they do not have a hot lunch program. Twice a month they bring in pizza and that's a big deal. But I'm like you, Tina. I send everything reuseable. Although he's already lost 2 lunch bags so I've taken to sending garage sale finds so if they get thrown away I can live with it.

My little kiss that I send to school everyday is actually a Hershey's kiss. My kids don't have candy around the house, but I like giving him something special to let him know I'm thinking about him, thus the kiss!

Have a great week all!

The bite out of the sandwich is funny.

I despise making school lunches! Although, I don't despise it enough to force my children to eat what I see on the school lunch menu. It actually doesn't look too bad, not sure what it is like in actuality to be honest, but I know the kids are more likely to get a healthier lunch (that they will eat) from me than from school. It's sort of this love/hate thing. I hate having to make lunches every night, but I also like being able to do it for them, and to pack little special surprises. And use our reusable sandwich wraps, and put in a little cloth napkin that I've sewn. My 1st grader hasn't asked to eat the hot lunch yet, so I'm not seeing an end to lunches in sight yet. He doesn't even want to drink milk at lunch anymore because he doesn't want to waste time standing in line for it! Ah, if it only wasn't so taxing to my creativity at 8:30pm at night!