When I was a little girl, I ate school lunch occasionally. My mom would sit down with the menu provided by the school and we would choose which days I would eat “hot lunch” and which days she would pack my lunch.
I remember eating my own packed lunch more often than choosing to eat school lunch. My mom would put dried fruit in my lunch wrapped in little squares of saran wrap. The other kids would be so grossed out by the prunes, but I enjoyed them!
My family moved around a lot and we lived in multiple states. My only memories of school lunch revolve not around the food but trying to find a place to sit where people would talk to me. I remember carrying a tray through large cafeterias wracked with anxiety about where I would sit and with whom. Scanning the room with my eyes, I never wanted to eat alone, but I did sometimes. Being new was very hard.
I remember my mother putting notes in my lunch bag telling me how much she loved me. I cherished seeing her handwriting on small pieces of paper. It helped me get through some hard days.