With the roar of a gummy dinosaur, so ends another school year

How the heck did another 180 days slip by? And how so fast?

I think about that a lot. How to prolong, or at least savor and appreciate these days. How do you slow down the pace of math word problems, of spelling tests, of packed lunches, of karate classes?

How do you slow them down just enough to appreciate them and the little people who populate them just a little bit more?

Obviously, we can’t. Not even metaphorically. And that might actually be a good thing.

Because things that slow time tend to be adversities or struggles. Which of course we all have. But there seems to be a critical mass that, once hit, can make time painfully slow.

And so I guess I take some comfort in knowing this year slipped by. While I’d gladly have traded away the tedium of math word problems or the hectic rush of after school activities or the occasional cranky child, those were not the magnitude of adversity that slow time.

And so that this year flew by, I think is a mark of a very lucky family. Even if the price of that luck is a little sadness that my little guy is growing up so fast.

Today is Parker’s last day of third grade. Which of course means he got to pick whatever he wanted for his lunch box.

And as I was assembling his lunch this morning, I realized what a horrible day it would be for a new reader to stumble upon my blog.

THIS is what this guy packs his kid for lunch?!?!

Easy lunch ideas for kids: Too much candy; candied bacon; a mango spritzer; key lime bar; grasshopper brownie; and a snickerdoodle. http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com

Why not? It’s the last day of school. It comes just once a year. And I have only nine of them left before my little guy is all grown up. So on this big day, I indulge. We can fight about kale tomorrow.

Parker put a great deal of thought into what went into his lunch today. And we worried he had hit a snag. Last week, Parker realized his favorite bakery downtown — The Crust and Crumb — would be closed yesterday — the day he needed to shop for today’s lunch.

Good thing the owner is a friend. She not only agreed to make the treats he was seeking — a key lime bar, a grasshopper brownie and a snickerdoodle cookie — but even deliver them to the house! Now that is an awesome bakery.

So after school yesterday, Parker and I headed downtown. First up, the local candy and chocolate store. This family-run place — Granite State Candy Shoppe — has been around for generations and they make tons of amazing stuff.

Parker went from bin to bin, assembling little bags of treats. Gummy dinosaurs, gummy cherries, gummy raspberries, candy raspberries and blackberries, fruit slice chews, candy Lego pieces, a chocolate egg.


The trick to making this work, of course, is volume control. I only let him purchase a few pieces of each type of candy. And then I packed even fewer of each.

After the candy shop, we headed to the natural foods store for a drink. He was torn over whether to get a raspberry chia seed kombucha or a mango spritzer, but the spritzer won out.

The final item? Candied bacon. Which I made this morning.

“I hope I don’t get a tummy ache,” he told me this morning.

The good news is he’ll stretch it out over two snacks and lunch. And it’s field day, so he’ll burn it off pretty quickly.

And the sugar crash won’t hit until he gets home. Joy!

Thanks to all for following along on this crazy 180-day ride. But don’t get off the train just yet. School may be out, but lunch duty continues. We have months of summer camp-worthy lunches to get through, so this blog isn’t going anywhere.

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24 Responses to “With the roar of a gummy dinosaur, so ends another school year”

  1. Gina Lindsay says:

    I love this tradition that you have for your last day of school lunch! It looks like so much fun, what a way to make the last day of each school year even more special.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Thanks! Parker looks forward to it every year. Not even sure how the tradition started, but it’s a keeper.

  2. Lynn says:

    Indeed a fun tradition. I hope he avoids a tummy ache, too. The best part of being young is having a fast metabolism so he can burn through this sugar/energy rush, right? Happy last day of school, Parker!

  3. Jillian says:

    This is always my favorite day to read! Pretty tame if I remember correctly from last year?

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      I think so! Less candy last year, but more bigger treats. I told him not even to think about asking for dessert after dinner tonight.

  4. RuthAnn says:

    awesome! I usually do something similar for Buddy’s last day lunch, but he didn’t go to the last day of third grade, since it was time for Dear Boris to make his last trip to the vet. He was Buddy’s dog and Buddy insisted on going along to be with him. he was so brave (it wasn’t’ easy) and I am so proud of him. Parenting is hard, sometimes.

    • Sara says:

      Your post made me tear up. What a difficult moment to go through even as an adult.

      • J.M Hirsch says:

        I know! It sucks. It sucks even more when you’re kid comes home on the second to last day of school with an essay he wrote about never wanting to grow up and always wanting to be your little boy… Hard to swallow all that with dry eyes.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry. As you know, we’ve been there. And it sucks in ways that just can’t be described. Parker and I still get upset when we talk about Sammy. Tell the little guy that Parker and I are thinking of him.

      • RuthAnn says:

        Thank you. Boris will be missed. He was very, very old for his breed (standard bull terrier) so he was firmly entrenched in the family. They are such a part of our lives.

        • J.M Hirsch says:

          Indeed. They are part of the family. And the loss is felt accordingly. I have found that particularly at this age, new pets help offset (but not replace) the loss. I was concerned that Parker would “forget” Sammy and just focus on the new cats. But he has not. As much as he loves the new cats (adores, actually), he still misses Sammy. And I think that’s good. Shows he understands how life works.

  5. Julie says:

    That IS an Awesome Bakery! So glad to hear the blog will continue, i was worried for a moment :)

  6. Heather says:

    At least Parker went with quality. My daughter chose Nacho Cheese Doritos and Oreo Cookies with a Coca Cola chaser. We will see who has a tummy ache.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Ha!!! That does sound like a tummy ache in the making. I was shocked that Parker didn’t complain of one when I picked him up. Instead he bragged that everything was gone in a flash. No ill effects…

  7. Allison C. says:

    I still think this is one of the coolest ideas ever. I remember last year’s end of the year lunch box packing. This is definitely something I plan on starting with my kids when that day comes. :) Thanks for all the great lunch ideas throughout the year!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      My pleasure! And thanks for reading along. School can be such fun and such a grind for both kids and parents, it seems like a massive indulgence is the least we can do to close out the year!

  8. Meg Cronin says:

    Granite State Candy Shoppe!

  9. Metta says:

    So are the lunch giveaways continuing?