Monday, October 14, 2013

Lunch With Natalie

"When are you going to come have lunch with me? All the other parents have come to eat with their children," Natalie told me matter-of-factly.

I suppressed a groan. Eating lunch with a bunch of first graders was not my idea of fun. I enjoy having lunch in a quiet house while watching bad reality shows.

"I guess I could come this week," I agreed. "I'll bring Taco Bell." After I said it, I thought back to the school rules. Fast food was allowed, right? The health nut parents hadn't gotten rid of that, did they? If they had, oh well. I was having Taco Bell.

I picked up the delicious tacos and bean burritos before heading to Natalie's school. As I walked in I almost expected a crazed parent to jump out, lecturing me on how horrible fast food was and oh, was that a SODA in my hand? How could I bring a SODA into a school filled with growing minds?

"If I don't get my caffeine, I'm mean," I planned on saying.

Luckily, no one admonished me on my lunch choices. I went into the cafeteria and waited at the "special" table. It's the one underneath a canopy. The first graders began to filter in. No Natalie yet. I began nibbling on my bean burrito. Mmm, good. Another parent showed up and sat at another table. She had what looked like salads for herself and her kid. Salads. For lunch. I mean, I like salads, don't get me wrong, but if I'm meeting my kid for lunch I want to bring something special. Salads don't scream special to me.

"Mommy! My Mommy!" Natalie bellowed as she walked in with her class. She waved wildly and her teacher allowed her to go. She skipped over to me--she skips, because it's not quite running so most people let it slide. "My Mommy!" she said again and my heart squeezed. Soon she'd be Tommy's age and she won't scream, "My MOMMY!" anymore. She won't skip anymore. She'll just stand there with a sullen expression and snort whenever I speak. I never ate lunch with Tommy because he seemed embarrassed over the idea. I would ask if he wanted me to come and he'd shrug and go, "Whatever. But you can't touch me."

I enveloped Natalie in a hug and smelled the strawberry shampoo in her hair.

"Taco bell!" she said cheerfully. "Look, I got Taco Bell!" she said to her friend beside her. When a parent comes for lunch, the kids get to bring a friend as a guest.

"So how was your day?" I asked, sipping my soda. Mm, caffeine.

"Good. Some people got red. That means the teacher called their parents," Natalie explained seriously. "Someone knocked their chair over. ON PURPOSE." She and her friend giggled at this.

Ahh, the lives of first graders.

Natalie pointed out the boy that likes to chase her at recess. "I pretend he's Flynn Rider sometimes. And I'm Rapunzel." She flipped her long hair.

We only had a half hour before Natalie had to go out to recess. To play Rapunzel, no doubt. She was not embarrassed to hug me goodbye. She flung her arms around my neck and whispered, "I love my Mommy." She pressed her lips against my cheek.

"You have a good rest of your day," I said.

"Oh, I will," Natalie said seriously. And then she got in line with her class and waved wildly. "Goodbye Mommy!"

I'll probably join her for lunch again.

You know, while she still likes me...


  1. My kids would love it if I had lunch with them at school, but since I work full time it is maybe a good thing that they don't do that at our school, cause then I'll never hear the end of it for not being there.

    Glad you had a nice time with Natalie!

  2. This is the last year that I can have lunch with my older one...I plan to do it a lot, because like you said she is still happy to have me there. This was a great post!-Ashley

  3. sweet post. I also went to eat with my kids last week. we don't eat in the cafeteria, but outside it in the lobby. it's pretty nice. you are right that I should still do it while I can!

  4. Aw, I can't remember when my mother would come have lunch or a party with me. I remember OTHER kids parents, but never my own. It really is special!

  5. Wow, I've never heard of having a parent join their child for lunch, but what a special treat for you both!

  6. This reminds me that it's "bring your parents to lunch week" or some such thing at my kids' school! I need to go, but their lunches are an hour apart, so I'll have to use two days' worth of lunch break to do it. Yippee!!

  7. That's so cute! It's parent lunch week at Lena's school. I don't get to go, because they don't give me the 30 days notice I need to get it off unfortunately. But reading your post reminds me... I have to tell my sister, who is going, that the granola crunching Nazi's have outlawed fast food at the school.

  8. Heaven.

    When my nieces were little, I'd do lunch with them at school. They loved anything I brought and was proud of me and showed me off to their friends and just acted like I was a celebrity.

    Now? They're 13 & 14.

    "Do NOT come early. And only bring Subway or mexican food. And don't wear anything dorky looking. And don't poof your hair."

    Yeah. Aunt Carrie has lost her coolness so live it up in yours while you still have it.


  9. Oh, still cool! Do MD's next time.

  10. Definitely continue to do this - she will always remember it. And yes, the next stage always comes far too quickly.

  11. Awww that's really cute. I like reading your blog because you don't brag or post pinteresty type things.

  12. At my daughter's school, you can be parent of the day and spend all day with your child. It's actually only a half day so it's exhausting, but not terrible. I did it once and it made her so happy. (me, less so, but it's about her. Right?)

  13. I prefer to not realize how lunch is at school. The last time I went it irritated me that they expected them to be quiet. I wondered when they ever just got to be kids at school.

  14. This is actually a great idea! my kids school doesn't allow this - at least to my knowledge.

    and you know I am bringing fast food, because of course. I AM cool mom. I'll get the milk though. chocolate.

    with my luck though, my kids won't want me to leave! I'd be stuck there for the rest of the day! ha
    glad it went well for you guys

  15. When I have lunch with my youngest, we get to go outside. Where it's QUIET. And fabulous.
    But, for a friend to join us, they have to have a signed note from a parent. Which is kinda sad.

  16. I've never heard of this, it's so nice for the kids whose Mums can go. My Mum worked, but I remeber her bringing cakes when we had sports day (she came after work, and we were counting the scores), it's a good memory. I'm sure this will be for Natalie too.

  17. That is so adorable; my daughter hasn't let me come to lunch with her since she left elementary school. But she waves to me as she takes the field before games, so I take what I can get :)

  18. I am just dying for my husband to be back home, but I hate the thought of sharing the bed again. I have gotten used to all of it. Not sure how he will fit ;)

  19. That is awesome! I miss being able to do that. She is just too adorable so yes, go have lunch with her again. It only lasts for so long.


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