Many of you know, I run the lunchroom at my 3 sons’ school. Each year, I like to commemorate the end of the school year with am “I’m Out!’ note on social media.* I am sharing an original FB Post from June, 2019.

Being a lunch lady is not for the weak of heart. A friend once referred to it as managing a CIA negotiation, with army combats, on Sesame Street. This sounds accurate. Lunchladying requires stamina, patience, an ability to let go, all while remaining in control. I often refer to the lunchroom as the armpit of the school – it’s practical, functional, and serves a purpose. There is nothing glamorous about it, and the only time you really notice it is when it smells.

I’ve learned a lot over the last 8 years – like middle schoolers will roll their eyes at 98% of everything you say, and they have the common sense of toads; the art of subtlety is lost on most kids – especially middle-grade ones; when you turn 8 you suddenly think no one can hear you and shouting is necessary, and this lasts until around the age of 12; a group of blue jays is called a Party; made up 6 year old jokes are difficult for adults to understand but they find them logical and hysterical; kindergarteners need to be reminded to eat – constantly, and sometimes they just need a hug or they get the zoomies; they also share random info about their families – a lot.

I’m fairly certain I scare the bejesus out of the younger parents who are new to this whole system – with my firm voice, my expectations for even the 4-year-olds to be “problem-solvers”, and my un-acceptance for most forms of nonsense. I offer you young folks both an “I’m sorry” and “You’re welcome” .

To my regular volunteers – I could cry with joy each and every time I see you walk in – as you get it all, and you carry it with me.

All kids need to feel, and know love. They crave accountability, responsibility, and routine. Walking around daily, monitoring the continual flow of the lunchroom, I see these kids, and do my best to give them what they need. Not every day, but most days. Some days, all I have left in me, after 2 hours of complete controlled chaos, is to sit in utter silence, on my couch, and say & do absolutely nothing.

Thank you, Jesus, for summer vacation.

*In the wake of Covid-19 distance learning, I became the at home lunchlady for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for my entire family. Sometimes getting texts to bring coffee STAT.

I’ll be happy to return to the lunchroom again one day.

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