Sunday Post 42: The Ostrich

Posted by Danny

I often just miss the little things.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps its a lack of focus or maybe a tad too much self-absorption.  This trait didn’t instantly appear due to grief; I think I’ve always been this way.  I’m just not aware of the small things that I could do to make others’ lives a little bit better.

Last week I stumbled into a tiny opportunity and took it without realizing what I’d done.

A mother from Michelle’s school sent an email to the other parents in the class asking if someone could cover her lunch duty.  At our school, parents cover lunch once a week so that the teachers can have one day to eat in peace.  I never signed up to help with this task (I’m sure I had more important things to do).

When I got the email, I glanced at my calendar and realized that I didn’t have a lunch meeting on the day she needed help so I shot a quick reply that I could help.  I didn’t want to sound too eager in the event some other parent had already volunteered, although I was glad to take on this 30 minute role.

When she responded that I got the job, I entered it into my calendar and didn’t think another thing about it.

The next night when I arrived home, Michelle greeted me at the door. 

“Dad, are you doing lunch duty for my class on Thursday?”

“Actually, I am.  How did you find out?”

“My teacher told me.  She said, ‘Mrs. Jones was coming to class on Wednesday for an art project and that Mr. Tanner was the parent volunteer for lunch this week.’  I said, ‘He is?’  I couldn’t believe it!  You never do lunch duty!” 

I gave her a hug and moved on about the business of cooking dinner.  When we sat down to eat, I tossed out my usual conversation started, “OK, it’s that time!  Tell me the best thing that happened to you today.”

Michelle jumped in, “My best thing was when my teacher told me that you were coming to lunch at my school tomorrow!”  

That sweet little comment knocked the wind out of me.  The best thing that happened to my child on Wednesday was finding out that I was spending 30 minutes at her school – WOW.

She did warn me not to do my stupid magic tricks at the lunch table – that they were in third grade now and that they wouldn’t be amused.  So I didn’t.  Instead, after leaving the dining room, I did my ostrich impression across the school blacktop.  In fact, I taught all of the kids how to do it, and we ran back and forth four or five times, necks protruding, arms dangling out and knees bobbing up and down toward our armpits.

Michelle rolled her eyes, but she ran along with us laughing all the way.

I want to learn how to make more joy for my kids – and really for the world.  If all it takes is 30 minutes and an animal impression, it just isn’t a very hard thing to do.

Overheard At The Breakfast Table: Boyfriends Beware!


Unless I’m driving to school, my usual morning task is surveying who is ordering lunch, who wants a packed lunch, and what they want. The only constant is that Michelle does not order lunch from school, except for Fridays (Chick-Fil-A day).

For the other two, there are a number of factors to consider. For Stephanie it is typically a matter of what’s being served for lunch that day, and what better options might be in the fridge. For DJ, it’s a lot about the food, but also some about what’s happening at school that day, and, honestly, what kind of mood she’s in. Which led to this funny conversation this morning:

Me: “OK, lunch for Michelle, Stephanie’s doing soup and salad bar. DJ, you want a lunch or are you ordering?”

This guy was definitely hauling lunches in 2nd grade

DJ: “I don’t know. I really don’t want what’s for lunch today but I reeeaaally don’t want to carry a lunchbox around all day.”

Michelle offered a solution: “You should get a boyfriend. Then you can make him carry around your lunchbox for you.”

She sounded as if she had experience in using this tactic, so I had to inquire, “Michelle, you got a boyfriend carrying your lunch around?”

She answered with no, but then–I kid you not–I listened to the girls list the boys in their class that they were certain would carry their lunches around, and which ones had actually been spotted carrying other girls’ lunches, regardless of the relationship status.

Look, opening doors, pulling out chairs, even carrying a girls’ books or lunch for her–all sweet things for guys to do. But I’m just giving you a heads up, fellas. If Michelle Tanner asks you to be her boyfriend, you better be clear what the expectations are.

And know that she does not order school lunches, she brings hers. Every day.

The Check Arrives!

Posted by Danny

We discoverd that this check has been in DJ’s coat pocket since December 9!  It was meant to pay for her school lunches.  Has she not used her pockets in the month of December?  With a mom who worked at her school, this was not a problem.  We’re all still learning…

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