Morning Thoughts – All Grown-Up and University Bound

I’m sitting here this morning, in bed, after getting up at 5:45 to pack Grace’s lunch for college, counting the hours until it is supposedly going to start raining. The temperatures have been well into the upper 80’s low 90’s for what seems like weeks (actually only about two weeks) and the humidity is unbearable. I have been locked away in the house afraid to even open the doors for fear of being consumed by the heat.

Rain is predicted for later today and with it they are promising cooler weather, lower 70’s actually and for the next 10 days it looks like the air conditioner will get a much-needed reprieve. Even though, I can’t get┬ámotivated to do much of anything today.

I was inspired making Grace’s lunch this morning though. I am definitely a morning-type person. Getting up early doesn’t bother me, as long as I’ve gone to bed at a descent hour, gotten enough sleep, and am not woken by an annoying alarm clock. I by no means like to stay up late. I go to bed no later than 10, but more often than not, earlier than that. In fact, most nights I try to get up to my room and into bed to relax by 8, of course the family isn’t so cooperative. Falling asleep is easy; staying asleep, well that is an entirely different matter.

It takes me all of 10 minutes of watching television in my room to calm down and start drifting off to sleep. Come 1, 2, or possibly 3 a.m. though, I wake and toss and turn for an hour or three, fall back to sleep and then wake again right before 6:00. If I need to get up any earlier, my alarm is set, but I just hate that ringing in my ear, so whenever it is set, my internal clock will typically wake me a few minutes before it rings.

Anyway, back to Grace’s lunch. Yes, I make lunch for my college bound daughter. Actually though for the past couple of years she wanted to be “independent” and make her own. About a month ago however she came to me and sheepishly asked if I would be willing to make/pack her lunch as well as┬ádinner (just one day) to take with her to school each day. This is her first semester at a University, as she completed her Associates at a local community college and she is nervous about how this is going to be more stressful of an endeavor. I told her I would.

Not making her lunch while she was working over the summer or when she went to community college did bother me a bit. Letting go of something as little as that shouldn’t really be a big deal, but it was. After having her home for so many years and making her lunch day-in and day-out, the transition I knew was just the beginning of her independence.

Her asking me to make her lunch again was a subtle reminder that although a woman, Grace is still my little girl. She still needs me. Albeit she only needs me on her terms, but at this point I will take what I can get. All too soon she will be off and out in the world leaving poor ol’ ma sitting home waiting for her to call and share her life with her (very melodramatic here!).

As I pondered what to make her for lunch this morning at 2:30 as I waited for my second round of sleep to commence, I decided to make her something really good…something that she would never take the time to make for herself. Isn’t that what a mom is supposed to do?

With Grace my options were pretty much anything and everything, because even when she did pack herself lunch and snacks, it mostly consisted of prepackaged stuff that she could just quickly toss in a bag with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and go. That isn’t my style.

I have been making Zeb’s lunch for the past two years that he’s been going to school (homeschooled him up until then) and only on days when I absolutely had nothing else to send with him, did he get something prepackaged. There are a few things he does like that are prepackaged — fruit snacks, pretzels, etc., but really I try to stay away from most others.

Grace’s schedule is a bit different from Zeb’s when it come to school though. Although today I only needed to make her one “meal” (lunch), she is going to be at school from 7:00 until probably 3:00. This leaves lots of time in between breakfast and lunch and then lunch and dinner where she is going to want something to eat. Snacks are an essential part of her day even when she’s at home. How she can eat so much, so often, and be as thin as she is, I’ll never understand. I just think about eating the amount of food she does and I put on weight.

So here’s the rundown for the food she took today:

Morning Snack: Mini Cinnamon Bagel with Cream Cheese

Mid-Morning Snack: Fresh Fruit (watermelon and grapes)

Lunch: Taco Salad (I bought a food thermos to keep things warm and used it today to keep the taco meat hot, made a salad with cheese and vegetables in it, and put tortilla chips, salsa, and sour cream on the side) — a hot meal. For dessert she can eat more of the fruit, as there was quite a bit I sent her or she has a couple of homemade cookies.

Mid-Afternoon Snack: Carrots, Radish, Cucumber, Yellow Pepper and Broccoli with homemade ranch dressing.

Of course she also has fruit snacks, veggie straws, granola bars and a few other “just-in-case-of-an-emergency” type snacks packed in the cooler in the back of the car should she still get hungry. All the comforts of home, but not at home.

After I packed everything for her and told her what the rundown was for her food options, she squealed and said, “Everyone’s going to be so jealous. I’m going to have the best lunch. And if anyone wants to trade, I’m going to have to say ‘No, mine’s better than yours!'”

Yep, she’s in college — university actually, and yet she still gets a thrill out of competing with everyone as to whose got the best lunch. Probably because she never got to do this as a kid because she never went to public school. That’s okay, it made me feel good that she was so happy.

Grace told me that her boyfriend has to make his own lunch and he is definitely going to want to share hers, and if he’s nice to her, she just might share with him, but if not…

I like having the opportunity to do something special for her. It takes some of the pressure off of her to be an adult, gives me peace of mind that she is eating healthy, and at the same time affirms that I am still needed–something that every mom needs on occasion, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.