My mom was a stay-at-home mom for my entire childhood. I enjoyed the stay-at-home mom perks of freshly-baked chocolate-chip cookies after school, summer outings to swimming pools, and delicious home-cooked meals every night.
My mom was super mom. She got up early every morning and made us our lunches for school that day. On our way out the door, there would be 5 brown lunch bags sitting at the end of our kitchen table, neatly folded over at the top, each with a different name written on them in black sharpie. We’d hurriedly grab our respective lunch bag – filled with food personalized to our tastes – and head out the door without realizing how lucky we were.
My mom went the extra mile with lunches. When you eat a sack lunch every day for the 13 years of your public school career, sandwiches get pretty old pretty fast. So my mom got creative. For a couple years, I had crackers with cheese or peanut butter for my lunch. For a while, she’d get up early enough the throw those frozen bread pretzels from Sam’s Club in the oven, cook them, dip them in pretzel salt, then put them in our lunch with a little container of cheese sauce. I know you’re jealous, it’s ok. 🙂 My mom was even willing to indulge in my odd 1st grade tastes, and packed me a tuna sandwich and Cool Ranch Doritos – to put on my tuna sandwich, of course – for 3 years straight.
Nick and I were out for a walk yesterday, enjoying the perfect weather, and I was recounting these things to him – starting to realize how much work that must have been to get up BEFORE our early-morning seminary class (which we left for at 5:45 am) to have our lunches ready every day.
Then I remembered something that made me smile. Every year, the last week of school before summer break (and maybe before spring break, too), we were delighted to open up our lunch bags and find a can of pop and a candy bar within its contents. A whole can of pop! We didn’t get that very often! Wow, this was exciting stuff!! And every day for that week, I’d look forward to those special treats from my mommy.
At that age, I didn’t fully appreciate the care or love that my mom put into things as simple as a sack lunch. I didn’t appreciate the work that went into making FIVE lunches every day before we left. I didn’t appreciate that she customized each lunch to our tastes. And I certainly didn’t appreciate the extra thought and tenderness she put into making that last week of lunches so special.
But every time I walk through these memories from my childhood, I’m struck by what an amazing mom I have. All 5 of us kids are out of the house now. She now has a career and is busy with work and church duties, and I think sometimes she feels bad that she isn’t able to be as present as she once was. But I hope she understands how much those first 18 years of care and kindness and consecrated time and effort and thoughtfulness and love mean to me. To us. She was 100% present for the most important times. And for that I am so, so grateful.