- Sandwiches or yogurt? (My daughter only eats cheese sandwiches; my son only eats sandwiches with meat. And this changes daily.)
- Apple or clementines? (Clementines are always a winner; apples are a bold choice, as they could go either way.)
- Pretzels or a granola bar? (A gamble.)
I ask myself: should jazz it up by including an organic juice box? Do I take a risk and slip in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the off-chance they might eat it?
Mostly, I’m just bored making their lunches. But I make them because I love.my.kids. (I tell myself this repeatedly.)
In order for school lunch making to be a little more bearable, I “multi-task.” I put multi-task in parentheses because what I really do is to procrastinate. (There, I said it. PROCRASTINATE.) My “multi-tasking” has become elaborate, which makes the whole process worse. Instead of 10-minutes of lunch making, I’m still at it an hour later.
What takes me so long? Am I competently accomplishing other tasks? Nope, not really. Instead of being efficient, I’m….
- Organizing my Tupperware. Or, at least thinking about how useful it would be to match storage containers with their tops.
- Making applesauce. Seriously; I do this a lot.
- Reading the Sunday newspaper. This is usually what I do on Wednesday nights; it’s my mad dash to get it read before Saturday, at which time, read or not, the paper goes in the recycling.
- Looking for movie trailers to watch on my laptop. Since I only seem to go to the movies once a quarter, trailers are how I enjoy new films. (I know, I know, how dull am I.)
- Stepping on Legos. (‘Nuff said about that.)
- Emptying and loading the dishwasher. Hands down, this is the most thankless job in the house.
- Cleaning out the refrigerator. School lunch making is the best (i.e., worst) time to clean out the frig. It’s usually when I realize we have a) way too many jars of olives (I hate olives) and b) an insane amount of walnuts hiding in the bottom drawer (no idea why).
- Surfing the Internet. Of course, right?
- Standing in the corner of the kitchen, reading a book and hoping the lunches make themselves. Or that my husband will volunteer to make them (which does not happen).
- Updating our Netflix queue.
- Sweeping the kitchen floor, in awe of how much food my kids dropped on the ground while they ate dinner.
- Shopping. Online grocery ordering with home delivery is, next to the zipper and genome sequencing, the most amazing idea ever.
- Writing a blog post—or starting a second or a third one.
- Working on reasons why we cannot get a bunny, my daughter’s current obsession. The kid is undertaking an impressive campaign to get said bunny (which she wants to name Bekah), and I may be out of my league here (I think the kid is ready for law school).
- Folding laundry. The second most thankless job in the house.
- Calling my mom. (Hi Mom!)
- Watching “Outlander” online. Any episode. Again (and again and again).
- Purging my email. Delete, delete, delete.
- Liking posts on Facebook. Maybe even commenting on one or two of them.
- Emptying out the junk drawer, which is counterintuitive because it’s the JUNK DRAWER.
You get it, right? I do pretty much anything, short of watching “The Real Housewives” (I do not understand those shows), while I make lunches.
Occasionally, I live a life of risk and adventure and let the kids buy lunch. They lobbied for months for me to let them do so; I resisted, citing excuse after excuse until I realized that, as much as I say I hate making school lunches, I deep down—way, way, way down—like doing it. I make their lunches because I love my kids. I feel good sending them off with healthy food (food = love, right?). I want them to know, even though we’re apart, that I love them.
But on the evenings when I don’t have to make school lunches, I send up a little cheer for all that found time. For me. Or, more accurately, it’s for me to cross off of one of the way too many things on my to do list. For a moment, though, those unscheduled minutes feel like freedom…
Imagine what it will be like next year when I teach the kids to make their own lunches…