When I think of my "job", one word comes to mind: Lunches. My daughter, Janelle, wrote a college essay on the subject of the power of lunches.
"This I Believe"
by Janelle Magnusson Anderson
I believe in the power of lunches.
My mom has six children and a husband, all of who needed a lunch for school and work. And so mom made seven lunches every day for twenty five years. That’s over 63,000 lunches.
Love seems to be expressed in two ways: word and action. Over the years, I began to realize that mom’s lunches were full of love. Every day, my brown paper bag held basically the same thing: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, apple, tortilla chips, and water bottle. But it also held something more.
Each and every lunch held time. Mom’s day began earlier than mine. She would be up early in the kitchen, spreading peanut butter and washing apples while in her pink robe. Making lunches only took a few minutes, but those were precious minutes that I could use putting on makeup instead of bagging my own sandwich. Mom never called attention to this time she spent serving. She just did it because she loved me.
Each and every lunch held acknowledgment. Mom wrote our individual names on all the paper lunch sacks. Kind of elementary, I know. But mom liked writing our names. She would say them out loud as she wrote, writing them phonetically: “Janelllllllllllllllllle” for Janelle. “Li-a-sa” for Lisa. There is love in a name spoken and heard—something so personable and individual. Sometimes kids at school called us names, or made us feel as if we did not have one. But at lunch time, there was our name in front of us. It was a mother’s acknowledgment of who we were. And we knew that it was spoken and written with love; because of that, nothing else mattered.
Love is spoken through acts of service, and my mom served me every day of my school career. Not only did her lunches fill me nutritionally, but I was also daily filled with reminders of her love. Now I live away from home, and so I make my own lunch every day. What do I make? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Though they aren’t spread with a mother’s love, I don’t think I will ever eat a sandwich again without thinking of my mom.
Thank you Renee, Rachel, Lisa, Janelle, Kristine, and Sam for letting me mother you during your Elementary, Jr. High, and High School career. And thank you for the honor of always being your mother, no matter what your age is.