An ode to sack lunches

This is the last week of school, can you hear that? Each school aged household is delighted at the end of homework, reading minutes, schedules, bed times, and sack lunches. No? Just me?


Well ok then. Sack lunches are so trendy, aren’t they? With the cute cut outs of cheese, compartmentalized side dishes and proportioned food groups (like carrots and strawberries instead of fruit snacks and veggie straws). You see what I did there? I tried.

I tried all year long to send healthy choices with my kids each day. Gluten free, whole grains. Wholesome sides and vegetables. And then, well. Then it kept happening … every day.

I had to make a lunch for Jessica every single day because of her gluten allergy. NOT COMPLAINING. I very much like to be in control of what touches her mouth but there were days, weeks even, where I lovingly sent Oliver off to the hot lunch line and cursed the fact that my child takes grapes personally.

Near the end of school we got a little braver and she tried some hot lunches on days that she could piece together a good lunch. There were also the days I literally forgot about it. Feed my child on top of clothe them, administer warden reading minutes, make sure their rooms are cleaned, teeth are brushed, and they have been bathed in the last 96 hours? I mean, honestly. Why did we stop living on farms and releasing our kids to the wild every day?

Civilization has me by the neck some times.

I’ve always kept a list of likes and dislikes of each child, something about word association. I don’t know, I’m literary so attaching words to foods helps me. Like how Jessica was obsessed with pickles for a few years and Oliver thought it was a cruel joke to look at one?

Yeah, looks good eh?

Or how Jessica’s affiliation with mayonnaise completely halted when she went to school and the other kids expressed their dislike of the condiment? Because liking mayo was somehow akin to social suicide at the kindergarten lunch table.

But grapes? I can’t even tell you how often we try grapes and my kids take it personal each and every time.

Shrimp? Both kids devour.
Fish? Oliver loves tilapia, Jessica prefers salmon.
Any and all kinds of tacos? Hold the sour cream for Oliver, please add an entire can of refried beans for Jessica.

Offer them grapes and you’re playing chicken with a time bomb. Today? They will tolerate your ineptitude to please them with a fruit choice. (But they’ll make you feel bad about it first) Ok, FINE, they’ll eat some. But only because the strawberries are gone and the apples you have on hand are reserved for a fruit salad. Frozen grapes? Why are you trying to torture me, they think.

Green grapes, red grapes. Small grapes, large grapes: ALL GRAPES BOTHER THEM. But they bother them on a level I wasn’t prepared for. I understand the change in palette. I’m 100% surprised whenever Oliver orders food from a restaurant. But why grapes?

Even their relationship with a banana is more favorable than this. The bruising fruit with rapid brown spots? I WILL CHOOSE YOUR MUSHY OVER RIPE DELICACY TO AVOID CONTACT WITH ANY GRAPE.

I envy the parents who can send their child to school each day with the same lunch. Sandwich, bag of carrots, grapes, pretzel sticks. This just seems legit to me. But I dance the samba every morning while piecing together the least offensive meal for my kids …

And some days, all that’s left are grapes.

Bring on summer.

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