In Defense of the Mama-Packed Lunch Sack
Who doesn’t need a handwritten hug to get through the day?
I was one of the lucky kids whose mom always made her school lunch. I had no idea this wasn’t the case for everyone until later in life, when friends shared stories of sad PB&J sandwiches thrown together while running after the bus. Honestly, all I had to do was remember to grab that brown bag off the table, and you better believe I still forgot it.
Don’t get me wrong. These weren’t gourmet meals by any means. Looking back, though, the level of care packed in those ziplocks was over the top, especially for a mom who admittedly isn’t a morning person. The types of sandwiches and sliced fruit were always on rotation and organized per each kid’s preferences, but there was always one constant – the handwritten note.
No matter how rushed the morning, I can’t remember a single school lunch that wasn’t packed with a napkin note from mom. On scattered school days when paper napkins were out of stock, you better believe you could spot my mom’s handwriting on the outside of that brown bag. From a day-specific “Hope you aced the test!” to a simple “I love you!” she was reliable. I may not have fessed up to it at the time, but I wasn’t really embarrassed by it either. I think my brothers would be willing to admit the same.
I'm not saying I didn't need learn a thing or two about routines, responsibility, and preparing for the day on my own. I was perfectly capable of slicing the crust off my own sandwiches far before I got a learners permit. But that feeling of unwrapping a sliced sandwich and seeing my mom's perfect block lettering after a big test? There was nothing else quite like it. Who doesn’t need a handwritten hug to get through the day?
These days, my mom’s little love notes have taken on a new form. The years of school lunches are long gone, but her sticky note game is still strong. Sure, it may be a boring piece of paperwork she needed to mail my way, but you better believe that envelope contains a sticky note with a smiley face and “Love you!” To my husband’s dismay, I often find these hard to throw away. I’m not a hoarder of many things, but take a peek at my desk and you’re sure to find a beloved pile of pink and yellow stickies.
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So, if you’re a mom in the trenches who thinks her little touches are going without notice, stay strong. Your kids are sure to look back on it with a smile someday.