He does it around 25% of the time. He walks outside,
armed with his book bag in one hand and his trumpet case in the other and
hikes the .8 miles down the gravel road to the bus stop. Or, if he’s done
fixing his hair by 6:55, Pop drives him the .8 miles to the bus stop. I’m
typically taking a shower at this point, maybe working on my own hair when he
calls. It’s usually five minutes after he leaves, sometimes ten.
I forgot my lunch. Will you bring it to me?”
twice have I not taken it to him. Cruel, maybe, but I wanted him to learn the
natural consequences of forgetting his lunch. He is, after all, one day shy of
13. It’s his job to remember.
first time I said no, I can’t bring your lunch. I don’t have time. He said OK
and hung up, and all day I felt stings of guilt. I tried to will them away, but
thought of him hungry, shriveling in a corner of the classroom, so hungry he
couldn’t pay attention to fractions, integers, or even more dramatic, adverbs
and prepositional phrases! (gasp!) When I picked him up from school, he bee bopped
out to the car, looking his high energy self. I was a little taken back.
was your day? I bet you’re hungry.”
fine. I just ate lunch at school.”
really.” (I had not put any money on his account in a while and was pretty sure
he had a 0 or negative balance) “With what money?”
just charged it. No big deal. Every one charges lunch, mom. Everyone.”
charge your lunch again.”
next time he called, while I was straight ironing my hair and still had several
sections to do, he said, “mom I left my lunch on the counter. Can you drive it
“Sorry, I don’t have time this morning. You are going to have to be more
responsible. DO NOT charge your lunch.”
all day I felt guilt. I told him not to charge his lunch, but what was he
supposed to do? I willed away these guilt feelings when children who really are
hungry came to mind. Neither of my boys has ever really missed a meal, not
really. He would be fine, and he would learn.
I picked him up, he was still alive. Very much alive, talking in the way he talks, that
if it was written out, there would be no commas or periods. Just run on sentence
after run on sentence punctuated with exclamation points, lots of them.
did you do?”
fine. I just ate Ryan’s lunch.”
shared, and then basically let me eat it all. Mom, it’s OK. He shares his lunch
with me a lot.”
Now I have to reimburse lunches to Ryan’s mom.
“Quit stealing other kids’ lunches!”
continues to forget his lunch, maybe once every two weeks. Back to yesterday. He spent 17 minutes on his hair, and his lunch was simply an afterthought. He called
around 12 minutes after he left the house. I grumbled that he was going to make me late
for work. That this was the LAST TIME EVER I was going to interrupt my getting ready
for work routine and drive down the hill to take him his lunch. I stopped at
the bottom of the hill and there he was, book bag and trumpet case on the grass
and phone in hand, thumbs flying over the keys. He didn’t even look up. I rolled
down the window and the thought to throw his lunch out the window and drive off passed through
my mind. He looked up and a smile passed over his lips, the one that shifted to
mom. I love you.”
obviously don’t know the solution; I’m not asking for advice here. All I know,
is those statements, coming from him, melted all my madness away yesterday. Just
like that. It didn’t matter if he meant it or if he was just trying to soften
the mood. I drove back up the hill thinking that taking him his lunch may not
be so bad and maybe I should just start planning for it.