It’s not too often that we parents are in the position of making dreams come true. But today, I single-handedly made one of the Gort’s dreams come true.
All year long the first grader dropped not-so-subtle hints about what he’d really like for lunch.
‘Hey Mom, so-and-so had a Lunch Mate today.’
‘What’s a Lunch Mate?’
‘It’s a lunch in a special container and it comes with a juice box and a treat.’
[Ah, one of those salmonella slash e-coli traps in an unrecyclable container.]
‘Mmmh, what if I made you a Lunch Mate? With a treat and a juice box?’
‘Well, maybe you could make me one and then I could buy a real one.’
‘Mmmmph, we’ll see.’
[Weeks, nay months, later]
‘Hey Mom, I know where you can buy Lunch Mates!’
‘At Safeway. I wish I could have a Lunch Mate.’
‘What if I made you a Lunch Mate?’
‘Well, maybe you could make me one and then I could also get a real one?’
‘Fine, on the last day of school, I will get you a Lunch Mate.’
And that’s how I lost my ten-month-long battle against the diabolical Lunch Mates.
I took the oldest boys to Costco and the Superstore yesterday. We were walking past the ‘hot dog’ section, when I saw the coveted lunch-time treats. There were one and a half days left in the school year. It was….time. ‘Okay, go get your Lunch Mate,’ I told the Gort. I might be overstating, but it was as if the pearly gates had opened and the angels were singing a chorus and there were bright lights and haloes. He approached the refrigerated section with a look of awe and reverence upon his face. His dream was about to become….reality.
He stared at the Lunch Mate selection for a minute and settled on the pizza kit, which came with a tropical fruit juice box and a little package of Oreo cookies. He carried the treasure in his arms for the remainder of the shopping excursion.
As we waited in the (very long) checkout line, he stared at the blue box. ‘It says I can make 3 pizzas!’ he announced enthusiastically. I couldn’t match his tone, I didn’t even try. ‘Lucky you,’ I replied; my stomach churning at the thought of ingesting even one ‘mini pizza’. ‘It says you can warm them up in the microwave,’ he continued. Unfazed by my unenthusiastic response. ‘Well, you don’t have a microwave at school’, I reminded him. Cold mini pizzas it would have to be.
We returned home from the store(s) and he carried his treat inside. ‘Dad, I got a Lunch Mate!’ he informed the professor as soon as he crossed the threshold. In a tone that suggested he’d be eating the Grade 1 equivalent of a Thomas Keller meal. The professor made the requisite parental (faux-enthusiastic) utterance: ‘Oh boy!’ Or whatever one says when one’s oldest son announces he is going to ingest something decidedly unappetizing.
‘Dad, don’t eat my Lunch Mate,’ the Gort warned the professor, before storing the blue box in the fridge.