Once a month the school has “birthday tables” in the lunch room. Among streamers and banners parents are invited to have lunch at the school with their birthday child. Outside food is allowed. In kid language that means only one thing: a Happy Meal at school!
In my defense, Andy’s birthday was weeks ago. In my mind, that birthday hurdle was behind me. I had already switched gears to Christmas. But, it was on the calendar…Bad mommy.
At 11:40am I get a call from a frantic Andy.
“Mom, where are you?!”
It dawns on me. It’s like one of those moments in a movie when the camera zooms in on the main character dramatically while being pulled back at the same time. Think “Lion King” when little Simba sees the wildebeests.
“Oh, Andy. I’m so sorry. I’ll be right there. Can you still buy your lunch?”
“The second graders’ turn is OVER!” he sobs. I’m about to argue that I’m sure the lunch lady will make an exception, but I know it’s no use. I have to make this right.
“I’m on my way.” Click.
My eyes dart around the kitchen. I haven’t packed a lunch all year. He’s been buying his lunch and there isn’t so much as a granola bar or a juice box on the premises. Plus, Dean has finally fallen asleep, Luke is on his last nerve running errands all morning, I’m still in my gym clothes (read: no make-up, hair is a mess) and Kate’s in a carpool and isn’t home yet!
Okay, don’t panic. There’s still 20 minutes left of lunch. Is there time to run to McDonald’s? No way. Come on, come on…think! Then like a parting of the clouds, I see it. The box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. What kid doesn’t love their favorite cereal three meals a day?
Five minutes later I’m at the birthday tables, kids in tow, dabbing sweat off my forehead. Andy has a tupperware bowl of cereal and milk and a big cup of eggnog, his favorite. (When he was little he called it “Christmas milk.”) Other moms whisper to me things like “good save, mom.” and “I nearly forgot myself!” Whew! Crisis averted.
But one small problem remains: no toy with the meal. I tell him to take a good look at all the different toys at the tables and pick his poison. We’d make it a date after school. No need to write that one on the calendar.