Pizza ‘n tots!

Elle’s school allows parents to come visit their child during lunchtime.  The parent can either pack a lunch for herself, bring lunch in from a fast food restaurant and share with their kid, or stand in the hot lunch line just like everybody else…except this time, you’re the grown up and you get to tell the kids to be quiet and form a line and Hey!! I saw you cut in line…go to the back!!  And this time, the kids listen!

I should do this everyday.  It’s a great boost to my self-esteem.  In fact, the kids think that just because you’re somebody’s mom that they’ll treat you like you are their mom.  I got lots of hugs and met lots of cool kids.  One even offered to share her jell-o with me while another strange kid (we weren’t introduced) who was about my size asked me for a $1 bill so she could buy an ice cream sandwich.  Seriously?

I said No, uh,sorry… and I didn’t get my shoelaces tied together or punched in the face.  IT WAS AWESOME!

Elle invited three of her friends to sit outside in the courtyard with us for our lunch date.  I was pretty stoked to go because not only was it going to put a smile on my daughter’s face to have lunch with me, but I was about to get my hands on some cafeteria pizza.  This, ladies and gentlemen, is a very big deal!  I loved cafeteria pizza from my elementary school!  It was the only thing I would eat from the hot lunch line when I was a kid.  That and tater tots!

And wouldn’t you know it – I hit the jackpot today.  On the menu was pizza and tater tots.  Oh, be still my beating heart!

$3 is kind of expensive for a lunch (pizza, tots, slimy red jell-o, and chocolate milk), I think, but I happily paid and hurried out of the line – the other classrooms started to pile into the kitchen and my ears were beginning to bleed from all the squealing and screaming and whining because He pushed me! or She cut in line!  Oh, so we got ourselves a line cutter, eh?  No worries,  I took care of that.

Elle and J - possible Minnesota royalty?

The girls were all genuinely excited to have me as their guest.  One even went so far as to tell me, “I’m so happy you came! My mom never gets to come have lunch with me because she has to work but now I get to have lunch with someone’s mom!”  I very quickly explained that I also work, just not today.  Today was Elle’s lucky day.  Since we sat outside, there was some serious discussion about cafeteria food and how the flies would pee on our jell-o. Also, T2 does not like rabbits and was quite disappointed that S had packed rabbit-shaped crackers instead of goldfish crackers. Tragic, I know.

The topic of discussion moved on to the history of the United States and Minnesota’s government. J wanted to know what exactly the Statue of Liberty was holding so close to her chest and I told her it was a book of hairstyles, the kind you look through when you’re at the salon. She believed me because, “Yeah, her hair isn’t really that pretty. So I can see why she would have a book like that.”  Also, J was very excited to learn that Jessie Ventura shares her last name, even though he’s a bald, white man.  J is not a bald, white man.  She is not even white. And she’s only in 3rd grade. “So does he bodyslam people if they don’t follow his rules?” Yep, this kid will be filling someone’s congressional seat in about 30 years.

S and T2 - she loves milk but hates rabbits

S pretty much kept to herself, a quiet and polite little girl.  She shared her rabbit-shaped crackers with a slightly freaked-out looking T2 and told me I didn’t look old enough to be Elle’s mom.  “I thought you were her sister!” The girls all agreed with S and kept trying to guess my age.  This game was my favorite so far.

“I bet you’re only 20!  My sister is 21 and you don’t look old like her.”

I’ve decided these girls are my new BFFs!  We’ve already made plans to go shopping and grab some Shirley Temples this weekend.  Besides, the kids had me laughing so hard, I almost didn’t want to leave. 

Eventually, they ran to join their classmates who were standing in line waiting to head back to their room. And when I did finally get up to leave, Elle, J, S, and T2 all turned back around and yelled out, “THANK YOU!!!”

And then I became a big pile of mush.


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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