When my kids ask me to come to school and have lunch with them, my initial reaction is always a conversation in my brain that goes something like this: “Quick, Self! Think of an excuse that will get you out of this! You’ve got cleaning to do! You’ve got the great American novel to write! Anything! Think, Woman, Think!” But the answer that comes out of my mouth is more like: “Okay, I’ll be there. What do you want me to pick up?”
My main motivation for saying yes most of the time is quite simple. I know the day is coming, very quickly I’m sure, when I will no longer be asked. I don’t think my kids consider me cool now, but I haven’t hit the pariah stage that all parents breach when their kids turn 12 or 13. You know, the “Drop me off a block away, Mom. I’ll walk…” stage.
I’ve actually considered that the real reason my boys want me to come to school is not so that I can have lunch with them. No, I’ve always assumed it was so I could bring lunch to them. There are a few fast-food places between our house and the school and they get to pick which one shows up with me at school. And, since we all expect full disclosure here, I really don’t want to eat whatever the school cafeteria is serving up either, so a sandwich from Subway or a burger from Sonic works just great for me, too.
I’d always assumed that was their motivation until today. As we sat at our special “visitors table” in the lunch room, I noticed the school lunch of the day was pizza with a side of frozen yogurt. And, honestly, it looked pretty good. I said to M, “Wow. You’d rather have Sonic than that? It looks pretty good to me.”
His answer floored me. I haven’t been able to think of much else since. “Yeah, but it’s not you.” I had him repeat it, because even with these new-fangled hearing aids, I wasn’t sure I was getting it straight.
“That school lunch isn’t you, Mom. I’d rather have Sonic with you.”
I’ve never had a hamburger and limeade that tasted so good. Who knew that a mother’s heart could be melted right there in a school lunch room… Heck, the Wicked Witch of the West has nothing on me. Don’t mind that steamy puddle of mush. It’s just me.