After making a guesstimated 4,750 school lunches, I’m out of a job.
Two weeks ago, and three days before her high school graduation, my youngest daughter Britt informed me that I had made my last school lunch.
Other than the couple days I substituted Ritz crackers for bread, she lunched on a plain peanut butter sandwich, fruit (cut-up strawberries were her jam) and a treat (Britt loved homemade cookies, especially my Holidays-red malted dark chocolate chip cookies).
My oldest daughter Aili was peanut-butter-and-jelly fancy.
Now that I think about it, my lunches-made number might be a little off. On the turkey and gravy days during her elementary-school years, Aili passed on home lunches. Britt did the same with cheesy bread.
I had thought my wake-up business had ended at graduation, too, but I’ve been since given a reprieve. Turns out, Britt still needs my services to get ready for 5:45 a.m. swim practice. Lucky me.
Over the span of 16 years (Aili graduated three years before Britt), I’m guessing I woke my girls up some 7,200 times.
Admittedly, this number is a little harder to quantify. One, I can’t begin to try to figure out how to count summer swim-practice wake-ups. Two, Britt rarely got out of bed on the first try, or a second, for that matter.
When I asked her about this the other day, she told me her feet always hit the ground when I raised my voice and said, “That’s it, you can make your own lunch.”
I was breakfast cook part of the time. Aili rarely started school without two scrambled eggs. Britt was a wild card. If she could piggyback on Aili’s eggs, she would. Otherwise, she was fine with cold cereal, oatmeal or yogurt and a bagel.
I wasn’t as involved with Britt’s breakfasts, as I felt I had already committed too much wake-up time.
Google maps said home to their club pool was seven miles. Other than the high school season, they were year-round club swimmers. They started in third grade, I believe, and swam through forever.
During the summers, they’d swim outside. Google maps said home to the Edina outdoor pool was 10 miles. I can’t remember when they started, but I do know when it ended.
I drove to outdoor practice until Aili got her license. I was more worrier than driver after that.
To be fair, my wife did her fair share of driving the swim taxi, as her social group of swim moms can attest.
There was also some carpooling.
Swim meets were family affairs, as everyone would go.
Destinations included places like Rochester, Mankato and Hutchinson. Rinse and repeat.
To make a long story short, swim miles are out there, way out there.
On Monday, I put in six hours of windshield time driving my daughter to her college orientation/registration.
At school, we met her new swim coach. We also looked at her schedule. We can make the handful of home meets. We can also get to a couple of the closer away meets.
In between, we’ve scheduled a few trips to my older daughter’s school, which is four hours away.
This soon-to-be empty nester won’t be counting.
He might even pack a sandwich, fruit and a treat.