I still have our March 2020 hot lunch calendar hanging up inside our kitchen cabinet.
Getting hot lunch was considered a treat for our then first-grader; something fun to do. We used to get the printed calendar monthly and it listed the lunch (and breakfast) menu for each day. Maybe your family can relate.
We haven’t received a printed lunch menu since then. Our first-grader is now a second-grader, and we’re doing 100% distance learning in our district.
Hot lunches have been available, but it’s not the same experience of receiving the printed menu, picking out a couple days with a favorite food, and looking forward to them throughout the month. And then getting in line with friends and wondering who else is getting hot lunch that day, too.
I hesitate to even write about this topic because there are SO MANY worse things than losing the normalcy of eating hot lunch with classmates. I want to acknowledge that fact; I know we are lucky. In the grand scheme of things, who cares?? I know that logically.
And yet I can’t bring myself to take down the March 2020 menu.
The month that I will remember for the rest of my life. The month we entered with some uncertainty, but largely normal. I believe the craziness with toilet paper had just started…and I was so confused why people were freaking out.
I’ve opened the kitchen cabinet and thought about throwing away the calendar a handful of times. But I always decide to keep it up.
A shrine of sorts to the way things used to be.
When I stop to think about what is stopping me from throwing it away, I’m not totally sure. Part of it is that I don’t want to forget what life used to be like…the longer we stay in the “new normal,” the farther away the old normal becomes. I don’t want to forget some pieces of the old normal; the special memories or rituals.
I wonder to myself, “Am I delusional?”
Is keeping the menu up a sign that I can’t deal with my emotions? Instead, I stuff them into a cabinet where I can peek at them occasionally?
Maybe I’m weird for even wondering why I can’t throw it away in the first place.
It’s in my nature to think (and then overthink) why I feel a certain way. When I find myself overthinking things too much, the urge to write – to purge, really – becomes stronger and stronger. If I can write out my feelings, it helps me to move on from them. Or at least alleviate some of the pressure they cause.
Writing isn’t for everyone, but if you find yourself overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions, I highly recommend writing it out. Don’t worry about format, grammar, the goal of it…just write what’s on your mind.
So, this post is my attempt at processing the March 2020 hot lunch calendar. I’ll let you know if I decide to get rid of it.
For now, it will remain my reminder of normal life. And a sign of my hope for future mundane, ordinary, plain old normal events to return.