At 8:30 one morning last week, I got a call from the lovely Larrabee Elementary “lunch lady.”
“Hello?” I asked when I answered my cell phone. I was actually parked just outside the school, having just dropped off Eva and Vincent.
“Hi,” she replied. “I’ve sent a note home with Eva for a few days regarding her overdue lunch balance.”
“Oh!” I said. “Ugh! Sorry about that! I didn’t see the note! I will run a check in today.”
“I’ve let the children charge lunches even with an outstanding balance,”she said.
“But I have to tell you,” she continued, “That I’ve spoiled all of our children. I refuse to serve them the “alternative lunch” when their balance is overdue. But this won’t happen at their new school. They will have to keep on top of their balance. I’ve spoiled our children here. But I just wanted to let you know.”
“Oh, goodness!” I said. “Yes, of course. For one thing, I will put more money on Eva’s account. I will also talk to her again about being responsible for her account. Thank you!”
I felt sort of sad when I hung up the phone. I also felt grateful for our lunch lady, who has so patiently waited and helped over the years as thousands of kindergarteners learned lunch numbers. Who has given a pass to those whose balance was overdrawn. Who recently, and so sweetly, passed my two-year-old, Valerie, a cup of cereal when we joined Eva and Vincent for breakfast before school one morning.
When Valerie was first born, I would call our school school each day. “We will be late!” I’d say. Or, “I told Eva I’d pick her up, but now she needs to ride the bus home! Val is still sleeping!”
“No problem,” our secretary would reply. “I’ll let Mrs. Wilson know. Thank you for calling, and take care.”
I recently called our school to find out if enrichment activities were still on this week, the week before spring break.
“Didn’t you get the schedule?” someone asked me. “It’s on the schedule. Didn’t you get it?”
“Uh…yes…I’m sure it’s here somewhere, but I’m not sure where…so I thought I’d just call…” I said.
We got it sorted out. However, I missed the person who sat at the desk before our school was slated for closure. Who would have told me with enthusiasm, “Yes! All activities are on this week. Any other questions I can answer?”
As I hung up, it just reminded me this is something I must get used to. So many of us in our current environment are used to life in a small, loving, close-knit public school. We are used to being “spoiled.”
We must now begin to transition…children and parents alike.