September can make us wish we’d never had kids nuts. It’s a busy month filled with constant badgering for pricey new clothes, school supplies, and overdue car payments. I find it hard to keep my AA promise head on straight. Worse than the financial ruin though, is the 4-letter word (well, seven) that often leads to divorce: lunches.
I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, when the boys started kindergarten I took great pleasure in making their lunches. Each evening, I would lovingly prepare sandwiches, wash fruit, and make tiny piñatas filled with homemade organic granola. Once the lunch was nestled snugly in Thomas the Tank lunch bags, I would write a little love note (Have a fun day. Love, Mom.) on their napkins to encourage reading. The entire process took 3 hours but I was usually hammered enjoyed it.
Over the years I slowly lost my mind enthusiasm. It became increasingly difficult to stay sober keep lunch stuff in the house and by the time Friday rolled around, I was putting things like croutons, uncooked rice, and staplers in their lunches. I considered enrolling the boys in private schools because lunch was provided in the 1.5 million dollar tuition. Living on the streets seemed worth it but then I remembered how much I like my walk-in closet.
It was definitely taking a toll on me. All I could think about was lunches and what to put in them. This one didn’t want ham. That one wanted fresh Alaska snow crab legs and beef tenderloin with a side of foie gras. At the end of every school day, my first question wasn’t: “How was your day?” Or “How did you do on that test?” but rather, “Did you eat your lunch?” If the answer was, “No, I ended up going to Subway”, I dropped to the floor wailing whatever I was doing, lunged over the counter, rifled through their book bag, grabbed the neglected mayonnaise-laced sandwich and screamed, “Put this #$!! thing in the fridge before it goes bad! That’s tomorrow’s lunch!” It was time for a family meeting.
The family meeting gave me an opportunity to talk to the wall express myself: “Hey guys. Listen. I know I’ve made your lunches for years and it’s totally my fault that I’ve spoiled you but I just can’t do it anymore. I’m exhausted. I need some help around here ok?” Their response was unanimous: “Can you turn up the TV?” At that moment I felt my soul die gave up. I threw together their lunch and for old times’ sake, I included a little note:
I hate to tell you this via napkin, but your father and I have been arguing so much over whose turn it is to make lunches that we decided to settle it by a legal separation. We will share custody and lunch-making 50/50. This is good news for you: you will still get your sandwich every day. Have a fun day. Love, Mom