Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Love in a Lunch Box

School lunch.  In this case, camp lunch.  Lil' Bit set forth for her first week at Montessori summer camp on Monday, and for the first time as a mother I had to pack her a lunch.  

There is much to consider when packing your child a lunch.  First of all the container, or box if you may.  There are soo many different types of lunch boxes out there, but I settled on a panda bento box.  It is small, requires no plastic bags, and is absolutely adorable don't you think?

As far as the contents go, I feel like a teacher can tell a lot about a parent according to the lunch they pack their child.  I roasted a chicken on Sunday and had a grandiose plan to make Lil' Bit a gorgeous roasted chicken sandwich.  She was going to be the kid with a gourmet lunch so good that the teachers would be envious.  But alas, the lunches at this camp are not refridgerated so that means you are limited to foods that can hold up at room temp for hours, unless you pack an ice pack...but that is impossible unless you put the bento box into a lunch pack...which just seems like overkill....although having the ice pack would open up a world of lunch possibilities.  Something to think about. 
I have been racking my brain as to what to make her for 10 separate lunches over the next 2 weeks.  We don't eat lunch meat unless it is organic, which means it lacks the deli sandwiches we eat at home regularly are out.  In fact, we don't each much of any food that has preservatives so I have been racking my brain as to what to make Lil' Bit.  Thus so far she has had a hummus with carrots and pita for dipping, fruit and cheese meal and the traditional fail safe Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich with a side of crackers and fruit.  Lil' Bit loves pasta so I am going to whip up some pesto, and search for some other pasta salad recipes to work into the mix.

When I was a kid, my mom was a working gal, and while she did pack us lunches on occasion we usually ate from the school meal plan.  When Mom did make us lunch she always wrote a little love note on our napkins.  I still remember those napkins to this day...full of x's and o's and the word "Mom" sprawled in cursive across the flimsy paper.  I have been carrying on the tradition, only taking it to the next level.  Lil' Bit gets a little drawing on each napkin.  They are rudimentary, but she loves them all the same.  Today when she opens her lunch she will be greeted by a little dog wagging its tail.

The ritual of making my daughter lunch every night has been really cathartic.  It is a new ritual of nourishment that allows me to really think about how I can connect with her while she is apart from me the following day.  I suppose I have a lifetime of such rituals to develop as Lil' Bit and The Sprout grow into women.  Parenthood allows you to find joy in the most mundane places, like love in a lunch box.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Great post! Made me inspired to beef up the bento box offerings with something other than a sandwich and add some creatively illustrated Mama love. C loves his pig and bee Shinzi Katoh model and sometimes chats with it over lunch.