I was hesitant as I packed Noah’s school lunch last week.  After all, the days of elementary school are behind us.  He is a cool middle school kid now and I didn’t know the protocol for “tween” dining.  There wasn’t a single step in the entire process that didn’t give me pause:

Get out brown bag.  Easy enough, right?  BUT…should I right his name on it?  Does kid’s name on lunch bag in my handwriting = helicopter Mom red flag.  I really try hard to do all my helicopter parenting in stealth mode.  I settle on initials. 


Add napkin.  Do middle school kids use napkins when they eat?  My experience says no.  Then again, the napkin has been an elusive tool in our home since the boys were in pre-school.  And it’s important for us Mom’s to pursue our dreams.  Insert napkin. 

Make sandwich.  Noah requested a peanut butter and jelly.  Really?  Is that acceptable for middle school?  Don’t you want a gigantic corned beef, cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato on a huge roll?  Apparently not.  So I made the PB&J extra thick.  Girth = manliness.  Plus, it really is better that way. 

Cut sandwich.  WAIT!  Is that a sissy thing to do?  My friend Sue offers that she still cuts her husband’s sandwich in half.  I cut my sandwiches.  OK – cut sandwich in HALF, but not quarters.  Ever.


Chips.  Fairly straightforward.  Noah chose barbeque chips; the smell alone will provide him with some lunch table cred.  Worthy of a good trade if needed.

Dessert.  Noah suggests an entire Hershey Bar. Ah, his tastes are maturing, I think.  And then I say no, even though the kid could stand to put a little weight on.  We settle on Oreo cookies – four instead of three this year, wrapped in plastic as opposed to a baggie.


Drink.  Here I panic because all we have in the house are Capri Sun Roaring Waters pouches with that cute little yellow straw attached.  I can’t see anything more emasculating than poking a straw through your drink at lunch.  Hmmmm.  How about a beer, son?  Or a fifth of vodka?  No?  Guess he will have to take one for the team until I can get to the market and buy some Snapples.


Yeesh.  Onto Chase’s 4thgrade lunch, complete with first and last name on the bag, quartered sandwich, fru-fru drink, cheesy doodles, Hershey kisses and a note that says “I love you.”  So much easier.

I realize that neither of the boys has a clue regarding how much a I obsess care about their packed lunches.   I take comfort in the possibility that perhaps they might notice if I didn’t.

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