My husband tip-toes past the office where I’m working furiously on the computer in an attempt to get as much done before the day breaks and our three young children tumble out of their beds and demand breakfast like a gang of starving, just-released prisoners.
He leans against the doorway for a moment, stretching and yawning before he plods over to give me a quick goodbye kiss.
I tilt my face up towards him and tell him to have a good day.
“Oh, and don’t forget your lunch,” I call down the hallway. “I packed it for you last night.”
Yup, I’m one of “those” wives.
The kind that packs her husband’s lunch for him. Each and every day.
It never used to be this way. In fact, probably for the first three, maybe even four years of our marriage, I let my husband fend for himself in the world of lunch. Part of me clung to my admittedly feminist streak—let him make his own darn lunch, I thought. How hard is it anyways? It’s not like anyone makes me lunch when I’m working!
For years, I would hide under the covers in our bedroom as he got ready for work, pretending to be asleep, and feeling a twinge of guilt when I heard the door finally slam shut behind him because I knew he, yet again, would go all day without eating.
For whatever reason, the man just couldn’t—or wouldn’t—make his own lunch. Not a breakfast eater since his childhood days, without a lunch he would come home starving, practically ready to gnaw off our kitchen counter and inhaling an entire dinner’s worth of food before dinner.
I tried in vain to make it work.
I bought cutesy, snack-sized foods, perfect for taking on the go.
I bought him a super-cool lunchbox. (Which, apparently, was not that super cool. Did I mention he’s a teacher? Kids are so cruel.)
Finally, finally, just within this past year, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and start packing my poor, dear husband a lunch.
And I can’t believe what a difference it has made in our marriage.
Every night, after dinner I make a big show out of packing my husband’s lunch. I ask him if he wants a peach or an apple. I pretend to be offended when he explains that he doesn’t want a banana because the smell permeates into his sandwich. I roll my eyes when he requests his banana peppers to be dried and packed separately so they don’t get all gross and nasty.
But the truth is, I’ve come to love packing my husband’s lunch.
I love asking him at the end of the day, eagerly, as if I have prepared a 12-course feast, how his lunch (usually a ham sandwich or leftovers) was.
I love hearing how his students ask him, very seriously, in fact, if his wife is a gourmet chef.
But the truth is, I love packing his lunch because I’ve come to learn that is more than a plastic baggie full of “veggie” chips pretending to be healthy and a somewhat mushy sandwich, but a simple way…
To show my love.
It’s such a small thing that takes a few minutes of my time and I can’t believe I didn’t do it earlier. It sounds crazy, but I really do believe that making his lunch has helped our marriage. I know he appreciates my efforts and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that he understands my small gesture for him.
Because with each granola bar I pack and each yogurt I lovingly place, I am saying, Thank you. I appreciate you.
My days of feeling like a crappy wife are over. Not because a good marriage is based on who-makes-lunch-for-who.
But because it’s made up of the small things, like making your husband’s lunch when you know he won’t do it, that say,
I love you.
Even if I have to pack your sticken` peppers separately.