My kids went back to school this morning and it was bittersweet to see my two children, now both taller than I am, heading off to high school. (My son is a entering his freshman year, my daughter is a junior.)
It seems like only yesterday that I was cutting up sandwiches for their brightly colored lunch boxes, tucking them in backpacks that seemed ridiculously large for their tiny frames, and watching at the door as my husband buckled them into car seats and drove them to our nearby elementary school. Today, it was my daughter driving them both to school, leaving me and Mr. TLT to sit in our suddenly-too-quiet kitchen and wonder where all the time has gone.
And speaking of those packed school lunches . . . after making over 3,500 packed lunches since my oldest entered nursery school (good lord, can that math be correct?), I’m officially hanging up my apron: for the first time since 2005, we no longer have a child in Houston ISD and lunch is included in the tuition at my children’s private high school.
Now that my kids are no longer in the public school system, a few people have asked whether I’ll continue to write and advocate about school food reform. But my interest in school food never really involved my own kids, who were fortunate enough to be able to bring in the home-packed lunches they generally preferred.
Instead, I trace my activism to a particular HISD meeting in the spring of 2010, when I learned for the first time that over 80 percent of the children in my district (and, as I would later learn, 21 million kids across the country) eat school meals out of economic need. It’s those kids – the ones critically reliant on school nutrition but with no voice in the process – for whom I try to shed light on these issues. For the same reason, I’ll also continue to serve on HISD’s School Health Advisory Council and on the district’s Parent Advisory Committee to Nutrition Services, making this my seventh year doing so.
One thing will change, though. With some reluctance, I’ve decided to discontinue my annual fall series, “It Takes a Village to Pack a Lunch,” in which I shared a week-long round-up of expert tips and recipes for school lunch packing. The series was always quite popular and I’m indebted to the many talented guest bloggers who made it happen each year, but I think my head is just no longer in the lunch-packing game. (Let me repeat, people: over 3,500 packed lunches!) But soon I’ll share a post which collects all the best advice from the last six years, and I’ll also link that post to my Resources tab for permanent reference.
I hope you had (or continue to have) a wonderful summer, and I look forward to resuming regular blogging as school gets underway!
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