Monday, October 18, 2010

Thrilled to be a Lunch Lady

Like fingerprints and snowflakes and tantrums, no two motherhood experiences are alike. Mine is very different than my mother's was. For one, I have a boy and a girl; she had two girls. I work; my mom didn't until my sister and I were in high school. I have many more conveniences; to this day, Mom doesn't even own a microwave. And, yes, I am raising a child with special needs; she raised two typical kids (well, whatever "typical" means).

Despite the differences, I've savored a lot of the same joys she had, along with bliss my mom never knew—like watching a child who you were told might never walk take that first step. Sometimes, though, I wonder if I'm missing out on stuff she got to experience. It's not something I feel mournful about; I just wonder. So I got really excited when Sabrina's elementary school asked parents to volunteer for lunch duty. My mom did that at my elementary school. I still remember how much I loved seeing her there, especially when she'd slip me extra pizza squares.

Friday was my first round as Lunch Lady. I was one of five, and none of us had to wear our hair in a netted bun, though we did put on plastic gloves. There were no Lunch Guys on hand to dish out grub, but I'll bet that would change if they set up a couple of barbecues on the lawn. I also think it would be awesome if they had Make Dinner For Your Family Lunch Day. Like, couldn't they teach the kids to assemble a lasagna at lunch and send it home with them? Or perhaps chicken a l'Orange? Something?

Sabrina, who's gotten a bit blase at the ripe old age of 5, kept talking about my visit all week long. She literally jumped up and down when she walked into the cafeteria/gym and saw me standing at the lunch table. "THAT'S MY MOMMMMMMY!" I heard her yell. I felt like such a celebrity.

We were both distracted during lunch. She kept bouncing over to me, or I'd walk over to her table to say hi or give her a hug. Suddenly, though, there were a dozen kids standing by the drink area, waiting for water, and hordes of kids coming in. Remember that I Love Lucy episode where she's at a chocolate factory and she falls behind and she's frantically trying to keep up? That was me, except with a big jug of water in my hand and a bunch of plastic cups in front of me. I splashed a couple of kids' shirts but they didn't seem to care and luckily, I didn't get fired.

Here she is with her bff. Incidentally, yes, Sabrina is still wearing Max's clothes. And short sleeves. I literally had to hide her shorts, given that it's getting chilly here. I have resorted to paying her—yes, paying her—to wear dresses, like the other day when we went to a friend's party. One buck. One of these days, she's going to start charging me more, and accepting major credit cards.

I'm going to volunteer at Max's school this year, too. I'll be going on a couple of class trips, and I signed up to help coordinate the Valentine's Dance. Kids at his school eat lunch in their classrooms, assisted by aides, so no Lunch Ladies needed there, alas.

I was at Sabrina's school for just an hour, but it made my whole weekend. Not just because I got to pitch in and see Sabrina in action, but because for a short burst of time, I was doing something my own mom had done.

And it felt good.


  1. I've never heard of volunteering for lunch duty! That sounds like a scary job! At least, for me!

  2. I loved this post - the pictures are amazing and it makes me so happy that you and Sabrina were able to share the same wonderful experience that we shared with Mommy. I remember how I used to love seeing her in the lunchroom - gave me such a feeling of comfort. I also remember that the cook used to give her home some great leftovers (yummy breaded turkey cutlets and cake with frosting and sprinkles).

  3. yay for lunch ladies! This post brought back memories of my own. I remember every year for school pictures, my mom would pay me to wear a dress. One time she bet me 20$ to wear a dress every day for a week! On Wed. my teacher called her & asked what was up :)

  4. Your kid's school lunches look so healthy and yummy! What happened to Tuna Suprise? Lucky modern-day kids.

  5. This brought back memories of when I was very young and my own mother used to volunteer to hand out lunches on Hot Lunch Day at my school. Just like your Sabrina, I, too, would be very happy to see MY mom in the lunchroom!

  6. That sounds so fun! Love the pics of Sabrina. She is so cute!

  7. AMEN for those moment of complete and utter, well, normality. Love the photos, too!

  8. Love it. Isn't it great to be a celebrity to somebody?!

  9. this will make a great memory for S as she grows up

  10. This post made me giggle -- especially when you described paying Sabrina to wear a dress. Hilarious!


Thanks for sharing!

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