The Last Lunch

   As the mom of a college-bound first born, I spent the month of May mired in melancholy. It was SO incredibly painful for me to go through all of those lasts. You see, my daughter Kaitlyn was at the end of her high school career and she, like every other senior, had a long list of lasts: her last clarinet solo, last PROM, last school project, last AP test, last State Spelling and Vocabulary competition, last Recycling Club meeting, last band banquet, her last this, her last that. And with every last, I shed another tear, well, lots of tears actually. Every last. felt like a period. in the middle. of a sentence. where. it. doesn’t. belong. I cried and cried, trying really hard to focus on and look forward to her future, but at the same time grieving her graduation and eventual launch into the real world.

   My husband, on the other hand, didn’t seem to be sad at all. Not one little bit. He was just going along as if nothing were wrong. He didn’t seem to even be noticing all of the lasts, the heartbreaking lasts, that we were going through. Wasn’t he paying attention? Why wasn’t he melancholy like me? What was wrong with him? I was getting really frustrated and there was a total disconnect between us; he didn’t get why I was so lost, and I didn’t get why he wasn’t.

   Then, on her last day of high school, I figured it out. It wasn’t that he wasn’t sad. It was that he wasn’t showing it like I was. Until her last lunch.

   John had been making sack lunches for Kaitlyn since preK, and May 26th, her last exam on her last day of high school, would be no different.  Except for the note that he’d put in that last lunch. In all those years, he’d never written a note for her lunch box, but that night before, I heard him digging through the old photo albums and scanning in some vintage school pictures of her carrying those very lunch boxes that he’d packed, one from Kindergarten, one from first, another from second. He then created a collage with this touching lunch box note:

     Kaitlyn, I’m going to miss making you peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’m very proud of you! Love, Dad

    Through teary eyes, I fell in love with my husband all over again that morning. We couldn’t wait to hear about her last lunch at school that day, but when Kaitlyn got home, she kind of acted like nothing special had happened. I wondered if she was having a hard time with all the lasts, too.  Later that night, however, she did manage to share with a sly smile something about Dad having a soft spot for her after all before she went back to her business of being a tough-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside teenager.

   My husband and I may have been out of sync for the month of May as we traveled through all those lasts, but we’re totally on the same page about this first: We’re gonna miss that girl!

1 comment

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Your comment cracked me up!! The cafeteria is the worst! lol

    Miss Kindergarten


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