The fact that I even took a photograph of this must have meant I knew at the time how much I was going to miss making up my daughter’s packed lunch for school every day.
Maybe it’s not so much the preparation of the packed lunches that I miss but more the fact The Girl’s not here anymore to need me to make a pack-up lunch for her.
I used to love (seriously) making sure I’d got everything in its proper little space in the right-sized container and with sufficient amounts of all the food groups to ensure she got a good balance of nutrients from the parcel of love she took with her every day; I suppose it was a bit like knowing there was a part of me still with her making sure she was being taken care of, even if I wasn’t there and doing it in person. I felt a connection with the pack-up. Perhaps that sounds a tad over-sentimental but there it is. I always made sure ther was a paper napkin folded on the top and sometimes (to her embarrassment) I’d hide underneath that a little post-it note telling her how much I loved her, knowing she had the strength and grace to rise above any teasing she might have been subjected to following its discovery.
Sometimes it irritated me, especially when I was making one for her and one for the husband (goodness knows how maddening it must be to have to make 5 or 6 every evening) and the recipients of these were chortling and rolling about in the next room enjoying whatever entertainment (usually The Simpsons) was on the telly at the time. I’d feel a bit like my mother always insisted she felt ‘like a slave’ to everyone’s needs but her own. But you know, if the husband had offered to make the pack-ups and give me a break so I could sit and watch some TV instead, I’d probably have shooed him away anyway. Only I could make proper pack-ups. I was in charge of those. And that’s the way (uh-huh, uh-huh) I liked it. Thank you very much.