Be My Guest

It was “bring a guest to lunch” day at school for the kindergartners. The idea is to get the kids comfortable with having lunch at school. My son has been looking forward to this day. When I woke him this morning, I reminded him that today was our special lunch date to which he replied, “I think I want to bring Daddy instead.” That’s about right. I tried not to take it personally – I was is only option anyway.

To my pleasant surprise my date came downstairs dressed in his best polo buttoned to the top. “You look sharp,” I told him. “I wanted to wear something nice because it’s a special day,” he replied. “Mommy, how much money do I need to bring?” he asks while holding his piggy bank. “How about I buy lunch today,” I say and wink at him. So cute, he was actually thinking about paying!

At school we were invited to sit in those tiny little chairs with our knees by our ears while each child spoke into the microphone recounting their favorite memory from the year. They couldn’t have been cuter all squirmy and giggly awaiting their turn and then all shy and quiet with the microphone. After the presentation we headed to the cafeteria. We are supposed to buy lunch with our child to show them how to make their selections and pay the lunch lady. My guy chose the French Toast sticks with a side of tater tots and chocolate milk. I opted for a salad topped with sliced chicken nuggets and chocolate milk. Our bigger challenge turned out to be trying to eat with a spork.

My lunch date was great and I loved every moment of this special time. As for the food, well what can I say, it was predictable. I was happy to see that my son was comfortable navigating the food line and handling the money but I wonder, will he have a good experience at lunch next year? Who will he sit with? Who will sit with him? Will he be nice to the other kids? Will they be nice to him? Will lunch be an anxious time trying to navigate the social scene or will it be a fun time to catch up with friends?

I’ll miss having him at home for lunch next year but he’s ready for that next step. The cafeteria is the equivalent to the proverbial sandbox; it’s where you learn those social skills. It’s not always easy but we’ve all been there. Right now I get the privilege of enjoying my social time with my son.