Bittersweet Back-to-School: Saying Goodbye to Our Little Lunch Dates

The countdown is on, and back-to-school season is in full swing. Parents are practically skipping through aisles as they grab the last of the necessary supplies. No coffee needed.

back to school miss lunch dates

This will mark my daughter’s second year of preschool and to be honest, I am kind of dreading it. This fall she will make the transition from two to three days a week, including lunch time. This doesn’t sound like an incredibly drastic change, but for me it’s monumental. 

I will miss our little lunch dates.

My preschooler has been my kitchen sidekick from day one. She loves to get in on the cooking action and I enjoy watching her skills take shape. This girl is a ninja when it comes to cracking an egg!

Breakfast tends to be a softer experience, while lunch time is filled with energy and colorful antics. One minute she is running through the kitchen at full speed ahead and the next she is dragging out the step stool to help prepare lunch. Sometimes a princess or superhero, donned in full costume has come to assist me. Other times I am told we are making a witch’s potion as she stirs the batter vigorously. 

Our meal time conversations are simply the best! All adventures begin with, “It happened last night!” Whether it happened today or months ago, if you ask my daughter, it absolutely occurred last night. More often than not it’s a spooky tale, filled with ghosts and witches. It’s not just her funny, nonsensical stories that I love, but the dramatic way in which she tells them. The way she scrunches her little face when she is absolutely serious or rolls her eyes in exasperation. I love when she hops out of her seat to share a piece of her food with her little sister. 

It’s hard to imagine giving this up, even for three days.

Our Friday lunch dates take the cake! Those days are filled with fun outings and kid friendly meals. Last Friday was simply my favorite! As we were standing in line at Chick-Fil-A to place our order, I asked what she wanted. Her reply, “Mommy, don’t forget your barbecue sauce.” Before telling me her order, she wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to request barbecue sauce for myself this time. If that didn’t melt my heart into a puddle, this next part sure did. As I was collecting our order, I noticed her walking away. After my initial panic, I realized she was walking over to the straws. “Mommy, I got two straws! One for you and one for me!” Call me an emotional sap, but I wanted to cry. This tiny human was acting so adult-like, trying to make sure we had all the necessary items. 

If someone had told me four years ago that meal time would become one of our most cherished moments, I would have thought they were crazy. But now, this special time is where I can mark her growth and development, as she masters new kitchen skills. It’s where I have seen her personality blossom. It’s where I laugh at her silly antics and talk with her about the day. Our lunch dates are simply the best.

What will you miss when school is back in session? What special time do you and your child share?


Nikki Wildemuth
Nikki is new to the area. She graduated from the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Campus in 2009 with a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education. She married her husband the same year. Nikki loved the creativity of teaching and continues to bring that same creativity as a stay at home mom. During the day you can find her chasing after her precocious toddler. By night she is a Pinterest junkie! She enjoys getting out and spending time with her family!


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