making lunches

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Quite possibly, nothing has increased the happiness in our household this fall more than Mary making lunches for her brothers.

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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.

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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…


December 8, 2014



  1. Michelle

    December 12, 2014

    This one left a little lump in my throat.

  2. Grandma Honey

    December 12, 2014

    I love this! I absolutely love this!

  3. Harmony

    December 12, 2014

    I homeschool all five of my children and although there are some days I see the yellow bus drive by to pick up the rest off the children in the neighborhood and think it would be much “easier” for me at least to put them on it….it’s moments and times like you just described that makes it feel worth it. Thanks for sharing. It really is the ” little” things.

  4. Laura

    December 12, 2014

    I don’t even know your family…and I too was touched by this. What a sweet girl!

  5. Lizzie

    December 13, 2014

    i often made lunches and other meals for my older brothers. i loved “taking care” of them and developed a strong love for them.

  6. Kerri

    December 13, 2014

    I love this. And I love that it was a spontaneous act of love that got it started. What a sweet memory for all of them.

  7. Emi

    December 15, 2014

    I started making lunches for Steve this year… I hope doing so has the same loving effect on husbands as it does on brothers! 🙂

  8. Kirsten

    December 23, 2014

    We love those alpine trees, too, except we’ve been getting tabletop ones the last few years! Merry Christmas from a fellow (local) homeschooler (who didn’t plan on being a homeschoolers either)!

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