This morning, I packed a lunch for my husband and myself. I wrapped up sandwiches, and diced fruit and folded napkins and nestled them all together in the picnic basket my mom gave us for a wedding present.
I was amazed by how happy the act of making lunch made me.
Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate to be with other people who make food for me. My husband cooks nearly every meal in our house. My mom cooked when I was growing up, and when I was going to school, my dad was the one who got up and packed lunches in brown paper bags for us.
He bought these bags in bulk at Costco, but we were only allowed one bag a week. On Mondays, my dad would get out a fresh new bag, and write our names on them, and after our lunches were eaten at school, we were expected to fold the bags back up, put them in our book bags and bring them home again. He did this for us into high school; I would stash my used bag in whatever purse I was carrying that week and my brother would slip his into the pockets of his baggy jeans.
Friday was the best day, because Dad took a break from cold cuts and made tuna salad. I suspect now that he made fish on Friday because our family is Catholic, but at the time I thought the tuna was a celebration of the oncoming weekend. The tuna salad was labor intensive; Dad chopped up onions, and celery and carrots for this treat; he mixed herbs and spices, mustard and mayo. All of this was done at 5:30 in the morning, before he went to the gym, and it was waiting for us when we were ready to go to school.
Tuna salad is what I made today. Now I don’t always get so emotional about lunches. I pack myself a lunch every day, and it’s not a big deal. It’s a hassle. This morning was different. This morning, I was making lunch for us. This morning, I got to feed the man who feeds me every day.
That’s a special occasion that calls for Dad’s Friday tuna fish salad, even if it’s Saturday.