Growing up

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.

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One thought on “Growing up

  1. I have the exact same memories of school lunch. Like you, I moved around a lot. My mom had to pack my brother’s lunch because he was allergic to pretty much everything on the menu, but that didn’t bother us and even after he graduated high school, I kept packing my own lunch until the day I graduated.

    I worked as a student teacher a couple years ago at a middle school and occasionally, I’d either get a school lunch out of convenience or to save money (the awesome, amazing lunch ladies knew I was a college kid and would sometimes sneak me a meal). I was often appalled at the lack of choices (pizza or chicken nuggets? What a choice…). There was a salad bar available to any student, but it was not required to take in the main line, so most kids didn’t eat any fruit or veggies with their meal.

    I’m a late comer to your blog… but this project looks amazing and very important. Thank you, as a concerned future teacher and future mother, for pointing out this oft-overlooked problem.

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