As long as I can remember, my mom has packed my lunches. She always packed my brothers’ as well, so it was never a nuisance. She’s always offered, and I’ve never really put much thought into it.
Freshman year I decided it was time for me to take on the task. I made myself a PB and J and used the dinosaur cutter to separate the crust. I cut myself an apple and bagged some crackers. I felt accomplished and grown-up. After all, I was in high school now.
This habit lasted three days before it became a chore that I couldn’t find motivation or time for. I was not adjusting to my new school very well. My mom recognized my exhaustion and picked up right where I left off. She was packing my lunches again, and I was trying to calibrate to high school.
It’s something I can always count on. If I come downstairs and she isn’t packing it, I know it’s in the fridge waiting. I will always have a fresh meal ready. My lunchbox will be fully stocked with a sandwich, snacks, and a drink. I can always depend on her, even when we’re both running late. She always finds a way.
But time keeps moving.
It’s counting down.
Two and a half years remain of my time in high school—and at home. If the jump from eighth grade to freshman year was rough, I’m in for it after I graduate.
Can my mom still make my lunches? Do I have to leave home? Do I want to stay? Do I know how to pack a lunch?
I don’t know, and I’m scared to find the answer to these questions.
I’m scared to grow up.
Responsibility is heart-stopping, and I’m just not ready. I know I have time, but I have no control over how fast the years feel.
I still feel like a four-foot third-grader looking up at high schoolers and thinking about how far away that is. I remember imagining how happy and free I’ll be once I’m in high school. Third-grade Sammie saw me as a much different person.
But, I haven’t really changed. The only thing distinguishing me from her is my five-foot-nine stature. I am immature, and impulsive, and shy, and scared, and not ready to be old.
I know I should be becoming more independent, but frankly, I don’t want to.
So for now, my mom is going to keep packing my lunches, and I will remain forever grateful.