Tuesday, May 14, 2013

K-12 Memories: Peanut Butter Sandwiches

One week from today, Daniel will graduate from high school. I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the things that have played a role in his Kindergarten-12th grade experience.

By my calculations, Daniel has had approximately 2340 days of school over the past thirteen years. Of course, there were days that he was absent due to illness, but he usually had a good attendance record, especially after elementary school.

What you may not know is that except for a few weeks during middle school, Daniel brought his lunch to school every day and his sandwich of choice for probably 90 percent of those 2340 days was a peanut butter sandwich. It started out as the traditional PB & J, but somewhere along the way, the J was left out of the equation and he just had peanut butter on bread (with a drizzle of honey sometimes). Oh, sometimes he asked for a turkey sandwich and even requested that I buy some roast beef for a short stint, but let's just say that it's a good thing my son didn't have a peanut allergy!

When Daniel was a little Kindergartner and most of the years in elementary school, there were two motivating factors to why he wanted to bring his lunch. One reason was intimidation factor of the cafeteria. He was afraid to have to go through the line and hand money to these women wearing uniforms and hair nets. And there was the whole dilemma of carrying a tray that can be a challenge for a little kid. The second and possibly the main reason why Daniel brought his lunch for most of his school days was the fact that he is a fairly slow eater and the lunch time is limited. He quickly figured out that if he had to wait in line for his food, he wasn't left with much time to actually eat.

At some point in middle school, Daniel told me that he wanted to start buying his lunch every day. There was still the line to consider, but I think he had seen his friends getting lunch from the cafeteria and decided he'd like to try the pizza or other things they offered. He also had gotten bigger and could handle the tray and had decided that the cafeteria workers were just regular people who didn't always yell at the children. I'm not sure how long that lasted, but at some point, we went back to packing a lunch every school night.

Once Daniel got in high school, he continued to bring peanut butter sandwiches in his lunch. At his high school, the whole student body (do they use that term any more or is that a throw-back from Marcia's campaign speech on The Brady Bunch) has lunch at the same time. Since not everyone can physically fit in the cafeteria, the students are allowed to eat anywhere in the building and there are even microwaves scattered around the hallways for the students to heat things up (not PB & Js). Daniel and his group of "lunch buddies" found their spot each year and I'm not sure Daniel even stepped foot in the cafeteria!

The big privilege for Seniors at Hume-Fogg is that they are allowed to sign themselves out to go walk downtown for lunch. It is a big deal at the beginning of every school year because they have to wait until all of the Seniors have turned in a permission form to be able to leave the school. As the weeks drag by without everyone having turned in a form, they start circulating a list of who needs to be "reminded" to bring the form in. Finally, once everyone gets the form in, the Seniors can leave for lunch. Funny thing is, among Daniel's lunch group, after getting the privilege, they soon decided that it was too expensive to eat out for lunch every day and so Daniel has continued to bring his peanut butter sandwich all through his Senior year!

I've already got peanut butter on my mental list (OK, it's a real list on my phone) of things we need to buy for Daniel to take to college. Of course, with a food plan with unlimited access to all of the places to eat on campus, peanut butter sandwiches might fall down on the list, but I still think Daniel will be glad to have a jar of peanut butter in his dorm room, even if he just scoops out a spoonful for a midnight snack.

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