At the beginning of the school year I bring my school lunch A game. I have a system with bento boxes and cut up fruit and vegetables and little reusable muffin tin liners filled with hummus. The lunch notes are specific to each child and to the upcoming day. I have something inspiring to share with them. Sometimes I draw pictures. Water bottles are freshly filled and ready. There is a rotation of snacks that pays attention to each child’s favorite flavors and choice trail mix ingredients. I’m a school lunch all-star.
And then the weeks start to add up. During much of the year my husband makes the sandwiches to accompany the school lunches the night before. He whips out each kid’s favorite while I prepare a salad for him to take in for lunch. We have a little routine that works smoothly and allows me to start the day with lunches prepped and just waiting to be added to the lunch box with a cooler pack, sides, and their sweet note.
But it’s spring recruiting season. This time of year people wonder why I look so tired. There is a brief respite during spring football when my husband is home, and we attend evening extracurricular events together, and the kids play catch in the back yard with Dad after dinner. This is not that season. Spring recruiting means coaches are on the road all week. And potentially hosting important recruits on the weekend. This time of year, in many ways, is more intense than during the season. Cell phones are constantly ringing. Social Media is in a flurry. And for a few weeks college football coaches’ wives are solo parenting.
For my kids that means Mom is making lunches solo. And sometimes they wind up with ham and cheese even though Daddy always remembers they like peanut butter and strawberry jam (not the preserves! Sheesh, Mom, are you trying to torture us!??) It means that fruit included in lunch sometimes slides from cut up organic strawberries to prepackaged mandarin oranges, to squeeze applesauce, to fruit snacks. No lunch box has seen a veggie in WEEKS! Lunch notes have devolved into a statement of fact. “It’s Thursday. Love, Mom”. But you know what…there are lunches…so I suppose that’s still a win.
It’s all a part of the Springtime Slide. School is coming to an end (slowly). Our kids have all of their sports seasons in full swing while dance season is ramping up into the recital. The school musical is coming up. Final projects are due. Fifth grade graduation is approaching. And we are all running out of steam. It’s not that I don’t love all of the fun things at the end of the school year (Field Day! Teacher Appreciation!) but I’ve used up my enthusiasm. I’ve turned in my pool membership application. I can already picture myself sitting on the deck watching the kids splash and play. That mental picture makes it hard for me to get my act together and remember to buy poster board for reading projects and turn in money for the Mother/Son kickball tournament. (Literally had to swing by school on the due date to get it turned in. Lucas and I are not about to miss a kickball tournament!!) We are slowly sliding into summer and letting those school year habits fall away. Put your school bag away…or kick your shoes off outside and swing. Empty your lunchbox…or blow bubbles for your little brother. I can smell the cookouts, too, kids! I’m ready to put shoes away in closets and stack the flip-flops by the door. Oh, and if you see your brother at lunch, ask him if he got your sandwich by mistake!