During the school year, I typically make them eat whatever is on the cafeteria menu. For one thing, not having to keep track of when and who needs a lunch makes my morning a little bit easier. Plus, if the food at school tastes crappy it will make whatever I made for dinner seem that much more spectacular and appreciated.
Occasionally, I am more than happy to send a lunch without complaining. I will admit that it's kind of gratifying, knowing that Charlie is sitting at the lunch table eating a turkey hoagie, orange wedges, kettle chips and a chocolate chip cookie while his friends chew on their stale PB&J and glare at him with envy. I know they are probably capable of making their own lunches in the morning, but... ah, who the hell am I kidding. Of course they're not capable of it, and if they did attempt to make their own sandwiches they would leave mayo smears and bread crumbs all over the counter, which would create one more thing for me to do in the morning anyway.
I try to check the menu periodically to make sure there isn't something that's completely hideous coming up, like the day that the school was celebrating Cultural Awareness Day, of Russia. Seriously, what kid is going to eat the school's gray stroganoff and borscht for lunch? The kind that is going to get beat up on the playground later, that's who. Needless to say, Charlie got a home lunch on borscht day.
Over the weekend, he happened to take a glance at the menu and noticed that there was an evil item being served up on Tuesday: fish on a bun and steamed green beans.
"I need a home lunch on Tuesday. It's fish. Disgusting." I was a little distracted with something (like making a drink) when he made this request, and didn't really feel like talking about an upcoming responsibility when I was trying to get drunk.
"That does sound gross. Put your lunch box on the counter on Tuesday morning so I don't forget." Because chances are, considering the fact that I just gave a good, firm squeeze to my third lime wedge, I'll forget.
Sure enough, Tuesday arrived and amidst all of the usual morning commotion, the lunchbox never made an appearance. While he was getting his shoes on, Charlie saw the menu hanging on the door and gasped.
"My lunch! It's gross fish day! You forgot!"
With the look he was giving me, I could have easily let a little guilt start creeping in, so it's a good thing I'm stronger than that.
"Excuse me? I don't think I'm the only one that forgot. If you wanted me to make you something, you were supposed to put your lunchbox on the kitchen counter as a reminder, and I see no lunchbox."
For dramatic effect, I stomped back to the kitchen and looked around to see what I could scrounge up and call lunch. A few slices of salami, string cheese, a sleeve of Ritz, and a banana. Yummy!
As I was jamming the crap into a bag, I heard Charlie say, "Oh, never mind. The alternate is a chicken patty. I'll just eat that."
This was a huge relief, since I was sure my quickly assembled lunch wasn't going to impress anybody, except for maybe the kid that didn't bring anything and has a mom that keeps forgetting to put money in his lunch account. Plus, now I knew that the ribs I was planning on making for dinner would taste that much better, because even if they turned out dry, they would still kick a chicken patty's ass.