My wife usually makes my son's lunch the night before daycare, and then the next morning she packs in it his backpack, while I get him dressed, get his teeth brushed, etc. I ran 5.6 miles in 80-degree-6-am-heat this morning, so I didn't have energy to wake my son up, get him dressed, or any of that. My wife, despite being tired her damn self, got him dressed and ready for school, and I decided to fight through my exhaustion to load his lunch in his lunchbox, then his backpack. Why did I do this? One, my wife was moving quite slow this morning, and I knew if she was tired and getting Nyles ready, surely I could push through the effects of my morning run and take care of business. Two, the wife and I are going out of town on vacation next week, and I'm trying to do everything I humanly can to make sure I get "taking care of". Sorry for the visual.
Anyway, while I was loading my son's lunch, I took time to look at his Washington Wizards lunchbox, and I instantly got nostalgic as I was trying to figure out how to neatly put all of his items in this tiny little box (Yes I'm aware of the ambiguity going on here). First I imagined what my son goes through when he first opens the lunchbox. Does he take out all of the items at once, or does he take one out at a time? Does he prop his lunchbox up like a little fort, or does he not appreciate the artistic quality of a lunchbox while he's stuffing his face? I probably should ask the daycare staff, but there's no way they are attentive to that level of detail with kids running wild.
Between age 6 and age 11 (I switched to brown paper bags at that age) I had two lunch boxes: He-Man and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. No one was impressed with my He-Man lunchbox and I remember being frequently made fun of as a result, which is why it didn't stick around too long. But I got much mileage out of that Star Wars lunchbox. It had Luke, Vader, Jabba the Hutt and others on the lunchbox and then the thermos had Ewoks on it. My mother would always put a little napkin in my lunch with a message like, "Have a great day and I love you", and as sweet as that was, I quickly whisked that napkin out of public view, because I was terrified that my "enemies" would clown me.
Once I started eating, I'd empty my lunchbox, stand it up so that the lid was laying flat on the table, and the remainder of the lunchbox formed a slight fort (read: barricade) which shielded me from my elementary/middle school colleagues. All I drank was apple juice back then, so my Ewok thermos stayed full. Sometimes I'd drink directly out of thermos so no one would ask me to share my juice, and other times I would be dainty and pour the juice into that little ass cup that came with the thermos. Sure it feels a little silly to write a detailed blog about this in hindsight, but at the time, I cherished my little lunchtime ritual.
One day, one of the older kids, who brought his lunch in a brown bag, came over to me and starting clowning me first about the smiley face my mother put on the napkin, and then about me still bringing a lunchbox to school at the old age of 11. I went home, but that lunchbox away and asked my mother if we could buy a lifetime supply of brown bags for lunch going forward--she obliged. The smiley-face napkins did not stop until high school though. I kind of miss those.