Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Schooled Lunches

My boys surprised me yesterday, in a good and also annoying way. I was running late in the morning, and I arrived downstairs in the kitchen about fifteen minutes behind schedule to help them with their breakfast and to make their lunches for school. I was not concerned, because I had plenty of time to get everything done, but I became concerned when their plastic lunch containers were nowhere to be found.

As soon as I began to search for them, the boys piped up and said, barely able to contain their self-satisfied mirth, “Dad, you might want to look up on top of the fridge.”

I keep their insulated lunch bags on top of the refrigerator, and there they were, stacked neatly just like I had left them the day before. When I picked them up, however, they felt heavy, and the boys started giggling. They were all zipped closed, and when I opened them, there were the missing plastic lunch containers, filled with carrots, and crackers, and sandwiches. The boys had made their own lunches.

This was an unprecedented event, and a big surprise. I was initially filled with pride that my boys had been so industrious. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my boys are geniuses for being able to put turkey and mayonnaise on two slices of bread. I realize kids their age in Bangladesh already know how to make Nike tennis shoes and sew Martha Stewart Collection pantsuits, but we’re talking about three boys who normally can’t work together long enough to build a blanket fort over a coffee table without starting a fist fight.

I hugged them and thanked them and beamed with pride for about fifteen seconds.

Then I started to get mad.

The lunches were perfect. They were well balanced and nutritious. I looked around. All the food was put back into the correct places in the refrigerator and the pantry, with all the lids snapped back on. The counter was clean. The utensils were rinsed and in the sink. Everything was done and done really well. I did the math. They told me they had gotten their little brother out of bed as his alarm was going off, so I knew what time they started. I knew what time they had finished. I subtracted. Holy crap.

They made their own lunches ten minutes faster than it takes me to do it, and the kitchen was cleaner than after I am finished. Holy crap.

I’m bad at my job!

My three little kids just schooled my ass in lunch making. I realize there are three of them and only one of me, but the fact that they are 9, 7, and 5 and I’m 41 should definitely cancel out that argument.

I have been making their lunches every day for six straight months and apparently I suck at it. Well, thanks for that slap in the face, you ungrateful little overachievers. I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you just keep making your own lunches. Maybe you can cook yourselves dinner, too. While you’re at it why don’t you just do the grocery shopping, also? No car? I’ll give you the car. You’re probably better at driving than me, too.

Actually, now that I think about this a little more, I’m really not that bitter. I think this lunch situation just bought me another half-hour of sleep every morning. That’s huge. Come to think of it, I really should start teaching the oldest one to drive. That could really help out a lot.

I may be bad at my job, but at least I’ll be well rested.

See you soon,


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