Who Caters Your Lunch?
Due to food allergy issues, Robby's school has a strict "no food from home" policy. He, along with his classmates, all eat the same prepared school lunches and snacks. Needless to say, I often pick up a famished little tyke at the end of the school day.
The fact that he was allowed to bring a lunch to the field trip garnered as much, if not more, excitement than the trip itself. He carefully picked out a lunch box in August and hasn't been able to use it. Monday night, I emptied all of the green plastic army men out his Lego lunch box in preparation for its inaugural lunch.
After much discussion, which involved my vetoing his request for a marshmallow sandwich with a side of bacon, Robby requested a ham and cheese sandwich, cookies, sour cream and onion potato chips (in a separate little bag) and a bottle of water. I quickly realized that we did not have any lunch meat, we had no bread, and I had eaten all of the cookies. Obviously I am woefully unprepared to pack a school lunch!
After a quick trip to the grocery store, and spending nearly $20 in supplies, I packed Robby's first lunch box. He was so excited carrying his little yellow Lego lunchbox into school, and I was satisfied that I had a packed a nutritionally sound (sort of) and kid friendly lunch.
As I was putting his lunch box into his cubby, a fellow parent came into the classroom carrying a sealed pink tray. I didn't think much of it until another parent arrived carrying a similar style tray, only in blue. As I was getting ready to say goodbye to Robby, he asked me if I remembered to put the potato chips into his lunch. I assured him that his chips were safe in the lunch box. The parents smiled and remarked that Robby seemed excited about his "homemade" lunch.
Homemade lunch? Until yesterday I was under the assumption that all packed lunches were homemade. I learned that all of the colorful trays that were lined up in the cubbies of Robby's class contained his classmates lunches, artfully prepared by a lunchbox catering service. In our house, the lunch box caterer responds to the name of "Momom." Always striving to be in vogue, many parents utilize a specialized catering service which prepares, whimsically packs, and delivers the lunches for their little cherubs.
The abundance of colorful trays did not seem to phase Robby, but it certainly took me off guard. I invested a lot of time and care in preparing Robby's lunch. I even woke up early and baked Robby's favorite sugar cookie knowing he would be excited to find this hidden (and contraband) treat. In an odd way I felt deflated as if I invested time but was outdone by a paid caterer.
Robby had a great time on his field trip and for the first time all school year did not come home famished. He thanked me numerous times for the surprise cookies and raved about how good everything tasted. When I asked him if he felt bad that he didn't have a tray lunch like his friends he simply said no. He said that his lunch was delicious and that the only thing that would have been better was if I had allowed him to pack his favorite sandwich: a bacon sandwich, hold the bread.