Today I started to write about the lunches of my childhood.

Halfway-through, I stopped. I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t ready. Maybe I felt you weren’t ready (though that isn’t my place to think for you).

So I saved it as a draft.

One challenge with my commitment to writing and publishing here every day is that I struggle with the “Is this of service to anyone but me?” versus “Does this actually belong in my private journal?” dilemma.

But when it comes to sharing our stories, I, too, need to walk the walk.

So as I wrote about the brown-bag lunches of elementary school, I became sadder as I dug deeper.

Those lunches were awful. The stale rye bread. The peanut butter I never liked. The occasional flabby brown pieces of chicken (courtesy of my grandmother when my parents were away). Pickles as snacks. The mealy apples meant to be healthy. No drinks.  Nothing fun or happy or sweet. 

Yes, those lunches made me sad. Today, the thought of them makes me sadder. Because now I know. Now I have kids of my own. Now I make lunches for my own kids. And now I know why I care so freakin’ much about their lunches. And why I feel upset when they don’t seem to care as much as I do. And why I grill them about whether they liked today’s lunch or not. About what might make tomorrow’s lunch better.

Of course they don’t care as much about the lunches as I do. It is just a brown bag with some food and drink inside.

No big deal.

But mine were a big deal because they felt sad and lacking, they seemed to be without love and without sustenance.

Not because there wasn’t food to be had or money to spend. There was access to plenty of both.

Maybe no one cared enough. Maybe no one remembered. Maybe no one else knew what it was like to long for the Wonder Bread and the Oscar Mayer Balogna and the Twinkies and Doritoes the other kids had. Maybe no one else had space for me and my needs. Maybe I didn’t tell anyone it mattered. Maybe I didn’t realize how much it mattered.

Maybe they just didn’t make the lunch I felt I needed and it was as simple as that.

Maybe no one saw that lunch, for me, was love. And that as far as I could see and feel at that time, there was little to none. (Then we wonder why food is too intertwined with love for so many of us as adults?!) Over the years, it all fused together and maybe I saw it all for far more than, perhaps, it really was.

It’s a lot to swallow (no pun intended). Maybe I am not ready to share it. With you. With my own self.

Or maybe I just did, right here, now.