because teachers have students but lunch ladies have kids. and i have two very special types of kids that i’m responsible for this year. last year and this year i’m responsible for the allergy kids, aka the kids who are allergic to anything and everything eatable. in the morning i make up special little breakfasts for them that are put in sacks with their names. at lunch they go through my line so i can make sure they haven’t picked anything that might have something they are allergic to.
the second group i look after are a couple of kids that are red flagged because they are homeless. i have to make sure they come through the line everyday and that they do get food, no matter what. these two really put things in perspective for me. it made me think about what i used to do, working for hallmark, where i’d have to track down information like “when was the first barbie keepsake ornament?!” or file away the Hall Family’s personal christmas cards every year. my kids have made that all seem very meaningless. i wake up at 4:30am because i love the special ed students that come through my line and tell me to have a good day or so i can go make chit-chat with the “at-risk” 8th grade girls homeroom, which has now gotten them all eating their breakfast i deliver to them. i might work 20 times harder for a lot less money but knowing that at the end of the day my kids got feed maybe they only meals they’ll get all day, or they got peanut free food and had their orange juice instead of milk is much more satisfying and makes me glad to go to work every day.