Torturing a Teenager with Lunch Love

My oldest two daughters have been packing lunches all year. Through the years, they have been mostly ‘buyers’, bringing lunches from home occasionally. But it is Mikayla’s first year in high school and Macie’s first year in middle school and they both feel like they get more time to eat (and socialize) if they can skip the line and head straight to the table.

I am no super mom when it comes to packing lunches. I don’t Google bento ideas. I don’t make star-shaped PB&Js (well maybe once, okay, twice). But I do try to switch it up for them. Some days it’s regular sandwiches, sometimes I make wraps, I have even made up little mini salad bars for them.  The girls enjoy the variety and have actually come home and told me how good their lunches were several times. 

Subpar for the course

The other day, I picked up some hoagie buns for lunches. I thought that subs would be a nice change. I made the subs and decided to wrap them in plastic wrap. The plastic wrap wouldn’t stick to itself, so I decided to just tape the ends together. Well I found some stickers in the junk drawer that said “I am proud of you.”

I thought “How cute! They will get a kick out of seeing that in the middle of the day.” I used to put little notes in their backpacks when they were younger and thought it would be a fun throwback to their elementary days. Pleased with myself, I stuck one “I am proud of you sticker” on each sub and shoved them in their lunch bags.

After school that day Macie mentioned the sticker and said it brightened up her day. I do appreciate appreciation. But then she also mentioned that perhaps Mikayla had not been so pleased with the stickers. Apparently Macie had seen on one of Mikayla’s social media accounts a picture of the sub sticker with the comment, “Really mom?!?!?”

Yes, really

So what does any good mother who appreciates appreciation do? Well, of course, I packed another sub the next day and absolutely covered it with “I am proud of you” stickers. I wish I could have seen her face and heard her laugh when she pulled that sandwich out in front of her friends.

I know that the “really mom” comment was posted with a smirk and an eye roll, but in good fun, and when she pulled out the sub, shouting with mom pride the next day, she knew it was me sending my love by way of a midday giggle.

Raising teenagers is hard, but my plan to get through it is to communicate my love in any and every way I can. Whether it is lunch humor or sending a quick ‘love you’ text or leaving her a note thanking her for her help, making little gestures that remind her she is loved (and keeping a sense of humor) will help both of us get through the teenage years.