School lunches were always the same. Monotonous.
Nothing Special. Always the same. Each was prepared carefully. Full of thought for myself and siblings.
Turkey sandwich, something healthy, nothing special. Rarely did chips make an appearance or cookies or candy.
However, there was one special thing. Each day there was a napkin in the lunch. It had a special message or a memory included. No, drawn, carefully by hand with different colors.
Kids would crane their necks to see, what I had, and they didn't.
They had the good stuff though. In my little kid mind at least.
They had pizza. The square kind that only seemed to exist within the confines of the school cafeteria.
They had burgers...
But they didn't have napkins.
These napkins weren't to be used though. They were to be saved, kept as a memento of time spent with family. A treasure that few shared with me.
Instead I saved them. Not in the bank, but in a shoebox in my closet
My parents spent time. Time that I was never realized before. My 6 year old mind just loved the pictures and the words.
They related to our lives. What we did on the weekend. What was coming up.
If I lost a tooth, the tooth fairy appeared on the napkin.
But soon. They disappeared.
Junior high brought different challenges and the napkins left.
The comfort of home was gone. Poof!
Reflecting now, I know that those napkins were the caring moments. The time that they spent was something that other kids were desperate for. I had it and I knew it was special.
That's why today I still have them. That shoebox has moved with me as I have grown up, moved away from home and then back. Looking back at them all these years later they still hold special meaning. It's a tradition that I will hold with me in the future. A tradition to extend to my kids in the future.