Yesterday, I woke up at 6 am as usual even though I am not a morning person and six is very early for me. Even before making my tea, I started to get my kids school lunch ready. I always send something different each day and yesterday I thought I will send them hot lunch as it has been raining non stop the past few days and I imagined how happy my children would be to eat a steaming hot lunch on a cold and wet afternoon.
Yaya doesn’t like to eat beef and the other two likes beef very much. I cooked beef vindaloo and teriyaki chicken in the weekend to make all three happy. I had even bought lean veal from the butcher paying premium price, so my children won’t have to bite in to “chewy” meat.
I warmed the rice and the curry together making sure that it isn’t too hot. ( they only have 30 minutes lunch break and if the food is too hot, then they will end up wasting time while their lunch cooled and won’t have time to play). And for Yaya, I added a bit more sesame oil in her rice, so her teriyaki rice combo will be perfect.
I also had to send a snack and the night before I cooked potatoes, so I could make fresh aloo tikki ( all three like it very much)
While my tea was brewing, I made aloo tikki, packed tomato sauce in tiny containers, filled their bottles etc. At 6:55, the older two came in to the kitchen all ready for school, took their lunch bag from the counter, kissed me goodbye and by that time I still haven’t had my tea.
I did all these for my children not because I am a super mom, but because I grew up not having good/edible food even though my family was very rich. My mother’s idea of school lunch was kappalanga thoran ( papaya) that she cooked in bulk in the weekend with a pinch of coconut for flavour and mooru ( yogurt with worms). Amma liked cooking Papaya because it grew in our backyard and it was free. While my classmates ate rice and fish fry and all sorts of curries, I wished I had a different mother, someone who cared!
Yesterday evening, I came home tired and thought I would wash all the lunch containers before making dinner. And there it was, three thermos still full and the tikkis untouched.
Apparently, none of them had time. Yaya had science homework that she forgot to do and was doing it during her lunch time and my son had maths homework. I didn’t ask baby for her reason because by then I was really upset. Most of my colleagues do not pack their children’s school lunch. One who does, pack it the night before and the lunch contains an apple, a granola bar and a packet of raisins. She sends the same lunch every single day.
So this is what I did. I told my children, from now on they can pack their own school lunch and that I will not make lunch for them. Whatever that I cooked during the weekend will be in the fridge, they can pack it if they want to or they can come home after school and eat it. But as for me I am going to make my tea and drink it while it is still hot.
This morning, Yaya came casually and asked “mom, aren’t you making our lunch” and very casually I replied “no”
My son made maggi mee and packed it in the thermos and I know how soggy the noodles will be at lunch time. I feel bad for him.
The girls made nutella sandwich.
I do feel miserable that my kids will be hungry. But there comes a point where they need to understand that just because I care doesn’t mean that they can take me for granted. If they haven’t done their homework when they were supposed to do it, It isn’t my problem. But if they don’t eat their lunch that I prepared with so much love and care, then they just have to live without a good lunch.
I thought I would enjoy a hot cuppa for the first time this morning , but I didn’t. I am so used to drinking tepid tea.