Sometimes, in a family of seven, sacrifices must be made.
Let me set the scene. It’s 5 minutes before the sitter arrives. We have just finished getting ready for work. The dishwasher is unloaded, and the kitchen is clean and ready for the day. We are about to make our escape into grown-up land…until the 8-year-old comes downstairs early.
And she asks, “Did you make my sandwich today, Mommy?”
To which, I reply, “Oh, sweetie, you’ve taken your lunch for the past several school days, and I was going to make you a sandwich, but we’re out of peanut butter.”
(And how the heck does a family with five children run out of peanut butter??!! That’s like rice in a third-world country. It’s a major staple of our everyday diet, and by the way, the last time I checked, we had three entire jars of peanut butter!) I have no idea where the bomb-shelter amount of peanut butter went, but now it’s nowhere to be found.
So, using my motherly logic and charm, I smiled at her, patted her on the head, and told her I would stop at the store tonight and she could resume her usual lunch-packing schedule tomorrow. (Sounded good to me, and I fully expected her to understand the predicament.)
That would have been a fine idea, had she not reminded me, “Nooooo! Our field trip is today, and I HAVE to take a lunch, or I won’t have ANYTHING to eat!”
What we then had was a full-blown, three-alarm sandwich emergency. And a problem of these proportions could only be solved by (intro music here)…Super Mom!
I could handle this. For sure. No problem. She doesn’t like meat and cheese sandwiches as well, but it would be better than being mocked by her entire class for having to take a syrup sandwich (the only thing that was handy in the pantry). I dashed to the fridge to grab sandwich fixings, only to discover that, nope, there was no lunchmeat left either. (Holy cow! Who the heck is eating all our food??!! Oh yeah, the gazillion kids we have running all over the place.)
Ok, so no lunchmeat. No peanut butter. Things were looking grim. At this point (T minus 3 minutes to departure), Marissa had a tough choice. She could either go with cheese and mustard (nope, no mayo either) or she could go with jelly on bread. Upon presenting her with these culinary options, she sort of looked at me like my head was on crooked or like I had grown a third arm.
“I don’t like mustard,” she said, crossing her arms and giving me a pointed stare that very effectively conveyed her disbelief at my ineptitude. “Did you forget about my field trip?”
“Oh no, Sweetie. I didn’t forget. I just didn’t exactly remember.”
There was then some eye rolling and some furtive glances cast toward the pantry, as if sandwich material might magically appear if she stared at it long enough.
So we were down to a dry cheese sandwich or a jelly sandwich, and I have to admit, neither of those sounded appetizing to me either. I even offered to throw some marshmallow fluff on her jelly sandwich, at which point she seemed to recognize my desperation, and she almost looked like she pitied me for the ridiculous suggestion I had just made. (Hey, it was better than suggesting I throw some Cheerios on there to add some crunch, and believe me, I thought about it.)
We were down to 2 minutes, and she decided on jelly. Jelly on bread. That’s the nutritious lunch I sent with my 8-year-old daughter to school today. I won’t be surprised if her teacher sends home the number for the local food pantry with her today.
But don’t worry, this story has a happy ending. I felt so bad for sending her to school with a ghetto sandwich that I stuffed her lunchbox with several other treats to compensate. So her lunch is a little something like this today: Jelly sandwich, peanut butter cookies (Hey, I could have put those IN the sandwich!), Teddy Grahams, applesauce, and a to-go bottle of Sunny D.
So, pretty much, my kid is having sugar for lunch. Yoo-hoo, Parent-of-the-Year Awards Committee, I’m over here!