Some mothers fondly reminisce about when their children were babies. Their eyes become misty as they recall the tiny, helpless bundles, who needed to be cared for every minute of every day. And me? Not in this group. Diapers? Don't miss 'em. Navigating mashed carrots past wildly waving baby arms? Glad that's over with. Sponging mudpie-remains out of hair (and every crevice of body)? Well, that still has to be done, but at least the boys are old enough to shower themselves these days.
Recently we turned another corner in our house: my 9-1/2 year old has been letting us know he wants more responsibility. His latest request was, "Mom (not Mommy, mind you, so I instantly knew he was quite serious), I want to pack my own lunch for school." Have I whined in this space about how much I HATE that task? I know it takes all of three minutes, tops, but I just can't stand the daily grind of throwing lunches together. So inside my head, Ecstatic Mommy was yippeeing and boogieing with joy. Outwardly, Rational Mommy pretended for a few long moments to weigh this idea, giving it the careful consideration it deserved. After an appropriate pause, I grinned and blurted, "You betcha! Have at it!"
As he gathered his materials, Derek chatted about what his classmate (and best friend) Billy puts in his lunch every day. Juice pouches, Goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, cookies (nothing wacky like a sandwich)...I was already starting to regret my hasty decision to allow this crazy freedom...especially since it came out that Billy was Derek's inspiration for wanting to pack his own lunch. I was just beginning the self-recrimination ("What were you thinking? He's only 9 years old! Bad Mommy!) when Derek stopped rooting in the refrigerator for a second, looked up at me wide-eyed and indignant, and said,"Mommy, he doesn't even pack fruit! Or carrots! And (he paused for dramatic effect) his drink is NOT made with 100% juice!"
As I breathed a sigh of relief, he proceeded to quickly and efficiently gather: applesauce (no high fructose corn syrup), oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (no partially hydrogenated oil), a Capri Sun (yes, 100% juice), a cheese stick (reduced fat), and multigrain crackers (high fiber), and spinach leaves (just...green). My responsible, health-conscious little man. Now THAT will bring a tear to my eye!