My granddaughter started preschool this week and her parents reported that she happily carried her new lunch box all the way there. What is it about lunch boxes that make them special? It starts with the trip to the store with mom or dad to pick out the one you want. There’s so much to choose from – Buzz, Woody, Cinderella, Princess Jasmine, Star Wars, Transformers, Mickey. And if you don’t want a “character” lunch box, there’s plenty of great colors and designs. It’s one of the first things we’re allowed to pick out as a child that says “me.” It needs to be special and just what you want because it’s the little part of home you take with you when you venture out into the big scary world of school. Even if you’re not feeling brave, that special shiny piece of home reminds you that you’re going to be okay and mom and dad will be there to hear about the adventures of your day when you arrive home, lunch box in tow. When you open your box at lunch time, there’s the food lovingly prepared by your mom or dad. In my day it was peanut butter sandwiches on Wonder Bread. Now a days it’s more likely to be a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, fresh sweet grapes, a granola bar or cookie. Sometimes there might be a note or picture tucked in by mom or dad. Later the lunch box becomes a repository for crumpled food wrappers, leftovers and errant school notes. Once home, moms and dads look through the lunch box detritus for clues of the day – food not eaten, playground treasures and often that very important note. By the end of the school year the shiny lunch box is scratched, dented, or maybe even lost, but still a sign of a year well done.
Remember your first lunch box? Or the first one you helped your kids pick out? The next time you pack a lunch for yourself or someone else, don’t just throw in a Hot Pocket and a pack of cheese and crackers. Put in some food lovingly prepared, somebody’s favorites, and tuck in a note, photo or a little piece of home to help them get bravely through the day.
© Huffygirl 2010