Quite possibly, nothing has increased the happiness in our household this fall more than Mary making lunches for her brothers.
When our kids reach junior high, they make their own lunches. It’s just the way our household runs– like emptying the dishwasher at five, washing your own laundry at twelve. The boys have never really complained, though they sometimes create interesting meals like sixteen clementines and a handful of chocolate chips. Mostly, they make a sandwich, throw in a chalky tasting capri sun and an apple. It’s never been a big deal.
But in the third week of school, Xander began taking early morning seminary at 6:10 a.m. With three AP classes, two orchestras, crossfit and his work as a class officer he rarely got to bed before midnight. One evening, he complained he never had time to make a good lunch in the morning. Mary immediately piped up, “I’ll make your lunch.”
She set right to work gathering sandwich fixings, polishing an apple, drawing a picture on his lunch sack…all while keeping up a constant stream of chatter, “What do you like in your sandwiches?” “Do you eat bananas? Yogurt pretzels?”
The next day Xander came home filled with gratitude, “Thank you Mary. It was so nice to just grab my lunch out of the fridge in the morning and even better to have a good sandwich.”
Hans (who is not a whiner) ever so slightly grumbled, “I wish someone would make my lunch.”
Gabe piped up, “Me too!”
And the assembly line began.
The benefits pile higher than one of Dagwood’s sandwiches. She’s learned all their preferences, likes and dislikes: Hans never wants to see a banana again, Xander really needs two sandwiches. Simply asking the questions, respecting their opinions and creating a lunch they enjoy, increases love on all sides. And perhaps there’s nothing as potent as a lunch for creating daily gratitude: the thrill in the morning when they pull their lunch out of the fridge, happiness at lunch time while eating it, thanks in the evening when she asks their sandwich preferences for the next day. Even when Mary arrives home late from ballet or tumbling, she sets right to work on lunches. Mary will always be spoiled, but we don’t want her to be rotten.
Everyone’s busy at our house this year: homework, sports, music, service projects, friends. It would be easy to fall into a habit of short tempers and quick demands. But the daily service assembling lunches inspires everyone to be a littler kinder, a little gentler with each other, to find other ways to serve.
small and simple things…