Remember when you got to pick out your brand new lunch box, how fabulous it felt? You were on top of the world. You had the new shiny plastic or vinyl art square with pictures of your favorite show or character. If you are old enough (like some of us. I’m not pointing any fingers) you even got to tote the cool metal lunch box to school with matching thermos.
Heaven help the child that was brown bagging it. The lunch box was a symbol of who we were and how cool we could be. There was no way in (heck) we’d be talked into using our kid brother or sister’s should something be wrong with ours for a day. No way! Buying lunch – okay. We’d be down with that… if the food was cool.
We may be older, but the routine remains the same. Each year before school begins I go through the ritual of buying new lunch boxes with my kids. This year was my daughter’s first year to be a part of this, as she finally got to head off to the “big kid” school in August. My son was easy; for the first time he didn’t have an opinion, a specific character wasn’t needed and so a solid color fit the bill. But finding just the right box for my girl was a must. After all this was a big event! Her first time taking her lunch to school on a regular basis.
Success under our belt, she headed off to school and was happy sporting her new pink poke-a-dot Hello Kitty lunch box. She was the one and only in her class with that particular box. In fact, the class size being limited to only twenty, there really wasn’t any duplication of lunch boxes. That was pretty amazing. Of course our luck would not remain as such. The Hello Kitty lunch box was just far too cool not to be duplicated and, before long, another in the class had the exact same one.
Now I don’t know if you are familiar with how they work the lunch box collection, but they aren’t kept nice and neat in each child’s individual cubby as you see in the movies. At least, not at our school. No, they are all thrown into one big bin marked with the classroom number on the side that is hauled out to the lunch area each day. As a result, the girls with matching lunch boxes need to be careful to grab the right box each time. Clearly their name is written on the back in BIG BLACK LETTERS. But they are only five and six so you can only expect too much.
So the time came that her box was looking a little shabby anyway and I decided to pick her up a new one. It was hot pink, shaped like a handbag with a little dog in the front. It was Barbie’s handbag with a Chihuahua along for the ride. She was ecstatic! And the tale told when she returned home from school would lead you to believe that for the next couple of days (anyway) she was the most popular girl at the lunch table. Everyone wanted to sit next to Monkey and her new fancy lunch box.
Today, as I dropped her off for school in the morning, I noticed that her BFF was now carrying the same exact lunch box. It didn’t take long for someone else to pick up the cool new style. It made me think about so many things in life. How often do we see something a friend or neighbor has and wish for it ourselves? It’s a case of the grass is always greener. We all fall victim to it. I know I do, more often than I care to admit. For example, right now there are several neighbors who’s kitchens I covet. Someday. That’s what I must keep reminding myself. Or new carpet might be nice. To say that ours is dead beyond decay is too nice of a description. LOL. All things in their time.
But it starts early, doesn’t it? When we are mere children. Wanting a toy, a game, or a really cool lunch box.
Do these things make us happy? Sure they do! Temporarily. Until the next thing comes along that we want or must have. Will we ever rise above such petty ways? Mm, it’s rather unlikely. It’s wired into our DNA. The idea is an interesting one though. Can you remember the first time you felt the desire to get something because someone else had one like it? Have you felt that way recently?
44 thoughts on “Lunch Box Envy”
Actually, I’ve felt like your daughter recently. One of my co-workers takes pretty much every idea I have. Whatever I do, she does after me. I’ve seen her literally watch what I’m doing and start writing it down. It wouldn’t bug me if it was occasionally or if it was a give and take. But, as it is I’m starting to feel like she is taking everything that is me. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s the way I feel. I’d want to tell the other girls: get your own lunchbox!
I had a roommate like that once, Emma. She even decided to take up novel-writing! How frustrating.
The earliest memory I have of wanting something was during the Cabbage Patch craze in the ’80s. I didn’t want one at first, but all the other girls were having so much fun with theirs, and I seem to remember them bringing the dolls to school.
And Debra, I awarded you the Sunshine Blog Award! Details here: http://wp.me/p1bhaB-EU
Sounds like your roommate looked up to you a little TOO much, Laura. I had a roommate that ran out and bought the same sofa as me after we “broke up.” LOL I have to say though, it was a great sofa.
Oh my, the Cabbage Patch craze. I remember that. Everyone had one. A bunch of my friends got customized dolls and I wanted one, too. Not because I liked the dolls, but because I wanted to fit in. My parents got me an imitation version. 😐 At the time I was disappointed. Now I don’t care. I do recall my sister later getting the real deal and wondering why she could get one and I couldn’t. But so what! I was never into baby dolls so why did I care? Why did I let myself get ruled by the mob? That should be the real question.
Ooohhh! Goodie, goodie! Thank you for the award. I will treat it kindly.
I’m glad you mentioned fitting in. I was never a doll person, which is why I resisted the Cabbage Patch dolls until everyone else had them and was talking about them. It’s fun to see my 4-year-old play with mine now, though.
Congrats on the award and have fun with it!
I never cared much for baby dolls either. I did play with Barbie and I was completely into action figures. But I was not a girl to play mommy. Nope. Not ever. My little girl, on the other hand, she plays mother to everything. It’s very cute. Maybe she is making up for the areas I was lacking. LOL
That would be annoying. Have you tried to talk to her about it? Everyone likes to take ownership of their individuality to an extent. Imitation is flattering, but she is robbing you of your individuality if she copies absolutely EVERYTHING you do. Let her know her actions have-not gone unnoticed.
Great post Debra!!
I often admire other people’s clothing, purses and shoes. Lord. If I see someone sporting something amazing, I will instantly WANT it!
Just this week I saw a woman in Shopper’s who was sporting quite spectacular shoes. OMG they were stunning and as I walked by, I said “fantastic shoes”! She smiled and thanked me. They were gorgeous and I sooo wanted them but…I will just enjoy admiring from afar!
What can I say, I have a slight shopping/fashion addiction. LOL!.
Oh yes, I am an admirer from afar as well. Mostly because I am too tired and too lazy to do anything more about it these days. Bhlalalala Thankfully I don’t suffer from shopping/fashion addiction. Not anymore. My kids cured me of that. 😀
Those are awesome lunch boxes! I’m so jealous of the kids that get to carry those around. Wait a minute, maybe I will go out an grab one myself. 😀 lol I just proved your point on us always wanting the next best thing.
And proved it so very well! Thank you, Sara. 😀 I can appreciate your response. I loved having you here today.
Great post and question, Debra! I remember wanting many of my “cool big sister’s” clothes. Then after my family moved from the inner city to suburbia, I had the opposite happen. So many people were dressing like and wearing particular brands, I felt the need to NOT follow those trends. I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective.
Oh, yes. I remember wishing for particular brands. Attending a private school all the other kids had designer clothing. My parents were scrapping to send my sister and myself there. I think I was wearing “Ditto” jeans. LOL Now I could care less. In fact, I can think of a hundred other – better – things to do with that money. I don’t want to be a drone following the crowd. And you know what’s funny? I was the big sister and I always thought my younger sister had all the cool stuff. Although, I would find my things in her closet from time to time. 🙂 Thank you, August
Gosh, I remember this!
And kitchens I coveted, yes! But then I sort of got real and realised that these things don’t matter because there’s always someone with something bigger or better than the house, car, kitchen, job than you have. What matters is good health, love of your family and the peeps that care about you. That’s it. Nothing else matters and it’s all too easy to get caught up in ‘stuff’ and the ‘wonderful life’ that other people appear to have.
And like you I’ve never been a follower and my kids are exactly the same, lol! We’re revolutionaries! In a small way.
Great post and I hope you managed to get some sleep!
OMG! I am the worst when it comes to coveting kitchens. Just ask my husband. LOL I redid our kitchen in our last house and then we moved to a house that needed everything! Ugh. We said five years. Well, that came and went. But you have the right attitude. I know it. I keep trying to remember that every time I look at it and cringe. We have so many things that are more meaningful.
I am blessed that neither of my children are followers either. Thank goodness for that.
Thank you, Christine. It doesn’t look like my rallying daughter is going to let me rest today. 🙂 She is coughing, but super busy. And interrupting ever other thought. It’s good to see her feeling better.
I had a lunchbox and a thermos, back in the old days 🙂 I think those items were the best thing about school. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Weren’t they great? My daughter gets so excited when she gets to pick out a new one. My son, not so much anymore. I guess he’s hit that age where it’s a cool factor thing. My daughter is always copying my son and that is exactly what I’m telling him time and time again, “imitation is the highest form of flattery.” Thanks, Emma.
I had my Brady Bunch metal lunch box with matching thermos! I did not get a new one each year either. That one was my lunch box for several years. Oh well, that’s what happens when you have OCD and you take really, really, really god care of your things; you never get anything new because the old one is still perfectly good and doesn’t need replacing. Thall’ll teach me.
I always covet the next newer, shinier, faster, car. Just when I think I’ve found my perfect dream car, something else comes along and sways me. Of course I’ve had my Subaru for nine years now, because . . . as mentioned earlier . . . I took really, really, really good care of it. (Note to self, start smashing into things so you can get a new car.)
Fun post and good job on being the cool mom with the fancy new lunch boxes!
w/a Jansen Schmidt
The Brady Bunch rocked! And I didn’t get a new one every year either. But back then we didn’t need to write our room number in big black letter across it. The school requires that now, making it difficult for lunch boxes and backpacks to follow children from grade to grade. It’s rather upsetting when you are trying to keep to a budget.
Just a side note… I don’t think smashing your car, even a little is a wise idea. 😉 They’d probably just fix it and it wouldn’t be as good. Booo.
Glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for stopping by!
Oh wow, lunch box envy. I had forgotten those days. I was always upset because back in the day when our thermos was glass inside, they would always end up breaking when you dropped it. And of course it was back to buying the carton of milk so small that there wasn’t enough milk to help drink down your lunch. Funny what you remember, isn’t it? But I do like your daughter’s new lunch carrier. It looks like a purse. Very cool. Oh how fun it is to be a girl! 🙂
I recall breaking the glass inside mine once or twice as well. And I never liked the milk. Still don’t. The taste invokes a gag reflex. Not good.
You are right about being a girl. I have so many more options when shopping for my girl than I do when I shop for my boy.
I just had a paper bag when I was growing up, but my daughter has had all sorts of lunch bags and boxes. She’s got pretty picky now and it has to have the right person or tv show on it. Mind you I did manage to dissuade my wife from buying one in Paris – it was about as much as a whole year full of lunches! On the downside, she’s never let me forget it 🙂
I’m sorry you had to brown bag it. You should have had a cool Neil Armstrong lunch box. 🙂
As for that lunch box from Paris. I would say that a child would not care for it and the value would be lost. You made the right decision. Lunch boxes go through the ringer. You shouldn’t spend a lot of money on them in my opinion.
I still have my Star Trek lunch box. Yes, I was a nerd, but a closet nerd. Someone gave me this after I was a college grad, but I keep my bead collection in it. Yeah, still a nerd, only I’ve come out of the closet. My poor kids grew up listening to the Weavers; now they love folk music, and my 70s music, so they are kind of nerdy too. But happy ones. What a great post.
OMG! Star Trek? Seriously? You rule! I am half way through watching Trek Nation. I have had that saved on my DVR forever. I fight with the kids for television time and keep getting interrupted. LOL Someday your kids will come to realize how truly lucky they are and what an amazing mom they have. My kids took some of my stuff. Other stuff they beg for and wait impatiently for the day. Hehehe
Hi Debra, I’m pretty lucky–my kids are both writers too, and appreciate my eccentricities. As for stuff, when I die, I have two Star Trek sound effects key chains, one for each of them, but I hope they won’t fight over the stuffed jackalope in my office. I am enjoying your blog and look forward to following it.
Ha-ha. At least my kids are different enough that I don’t see any fighting. What one clearly wants, the other wants nothing to do with – so far. Thank you so much for the compliment on the blog! I really enjoyed familiarizing myself with your blog. You look like a lot of fun and I also look forward to following you.
That is really wonderful, Debra. I was actually kidding about the fighting. My kids are four years apart, and when his sister was born, I told Eli the new baby could either be his best friend or his worst enemy, and since he was the big kid, it depended on how he treated her. The lad (he was born 25 yrs. old) decided he’d rather have a worshipper than a rival. So they have been BFF, co-writing a graphic novel, and planning a road trip to celebrate both their graduations this year. If there is anything in my life that I’m grateful for, after healthy and happy, it’s that.
Brown bagger here! That was probably why I was more excited to get lunch boxes for my kids than they were. When I was growing up we took turns making piles of sandwiches for the week on Sunday night (6 kids), and freezing them. Can you imagine? Frozen cheese sandwiches. Very convenient but Yuck. Oh, I still envy kids with cool lunch boxes. Best wishes. Hope your daughter is well soon.
Oh, Julia. I never cared for cheese sandwiches, unless they are grilled and served hot. I am sorry to hear you got stuck with them so often. I think I’d be shying away from “said” sandwich for the rest of my days. LOL Thank you for kind words regarding my daughter. She is on the mend. Her asthma cough still troubles her a little bit, but she is much better. 🙂
I was a brown bagger. At least in high school I was. Come to think of it I don’t actually remember having a lunch box but I might have. I remember thinking how cool they were though. I love boxes and storage things and school supplies. That was my favorite shopping excursion, the one to buy all the school supplies. Heaven! Ah the memories!
Oh yeah. I never used a lunch box in high school. We were able to leave campus, so I either walked to the local Del Taco or probably brown bagged it. I can’t even remember anymore. LOL. I do recall enjoying the school burritos. My stomach must have been made of cast iron back then. I also enjoy nice boxes for storage. You can find them in interesting places around my house. 🙂 When I take the kids school shopping they are always trying to add things to the list. I try to go alone. It’s safer.
Oh this is fun! When I was on junior high, it was Jordache jeans. I didn’t have the money, and my parents wouldn’ t buy them. Then I got a pair as a gift – awesome! But more often, I didn’t care for what was popular, so it wasn’t an issue. More recently, it’s car swag. When my first, female Camaro friend with a V6 got an aftermarket exhaust, I wanted one too! I eventually got one, but a differnt one than my froend so my car sounded unique. 🙂
Oh yes, Jordache. I remember them well. Never got a pair, but several of the girls I went to school with wore them often. Sigh. 😀
Car swag! I used to do that all the time with my Camaro. Back then I was a cop magnet. It’s nice blending in with the crowd now. I bet your car sounds sweet!
Sadly, there were seven of us and we were only allowed to buy lunch, OR pack our own and brown bag it. Something about mom not wanting to pack that many lunches, or buy seven Thermos lunchboxes (yep, the metal ones with the glass lined bottle).
I totally understand wanting something like this, though. I love the Barbie bag with the chihuahua! I can see other kids really desirous of that one.
There are too many things that I’ve wanted that my friends had, but I wasn’t the kid who whined about it, because I already knew the answer. And I was okay with that. Definitely not entitlement mentality in our house. hehe
I can totally understand where your mom was coming from. I wouldn’t want to pack that many lunches either. I try to get my kids to buy when I feel lazy. It’s shameful. But we are in a rush more often than not.
Maybe you could give my kid some lessons in that “No Whining” thing. They seem to have trouble grasping it. That’s the problem with living in an area where many parents are showering their kids with material things in a manner we don’t necessarily agree.
Ah… your daughter the trend setter. I have to say, she does have an awesome lunchbox. I’m like poor MJ… school lunch or brown bag. No fashionable pails for me! I love that they are now remaking some of the old lunchboxes from back in the day. Don’t you?
Ha-ha. Maybe when it comes to lunch boxes. You should see some of the outfit combos she’s gone for, though. LOL. She definitely does march to the beat of her own drum.
Oh, goodness yes. Some of those remakes are the best. I adore the Mystery Machine. I almost tried to talk my daughter into that one, but she was resisting too much. Someone else in the class showed up with it anyway.
The Mystery Machine. That is a good one… but I guess we have to let them make their own choices once in a while! LOL
I love both of them! And there’s nothing wrong with getting something you saw someone else with. Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we see it. 😉
Very true, Krystal. Sometimes we need to see something in use before we see its benifits. 🙂
You know I love both of those lunch boxes! You are so right ~ we want something, possibly even obsess over it, until something new comes along. As I get older I’m starting to realize stuff is just stuff and I want to fill my life with the things that really matter ~ my family. Memories are far more valuable to me than another Barbie or tiara. Still, I do love me a sparkly tiara and fancy Barbie!
And it’s alright to love your sparkly tiara and fancy Barbies, as long as you know what’s most important – and you do. Monkey would love to come over and play with all your Barbies! Oh, wait. No touchy. 😀 That’s alright. She’s used to that. I have a bunch of dolls behind glass she never gets to touch. She’s not too crazy about that. LOL
This post brings back fun memories. I can even remember what it smelled like when I opened my lunch box (no, I can’t remember which cartoon characters were on them). No matter which kind of sandwich my mom packed, there was always a hint of peanut butter and jelly somewhere. And the thermos? Leftovers were SO much better than sandwiches…
Sure I want what other people have. I’d like Robert Downey Jr., (and a whole list of other sexy guys). I’d like to have Sandra Bullock’s face and Katerina Witt’s figure (and skating talent!). No, not really (mostly not really). I’m pretty happy with my life (almost anyway). 🙂
I can’t recall what was on the front of my lunch box either. Strange that I can remember where I sat and actually opening up my lunch box, but not what was on the front of it. Odd. And left overs – my son is always asking for the leftover pizza if that’s an option. 🙂
Yep. If I was carrying a lunch box today that had characters on it, mine would definitely have hot guys. 😀 Second option would be cool prints.