My aunt sent me this post the other day. You might have seen it on Facebook recently. I know I did, though I didn't click over to read it because it was one of those times I was hastily scrolling through my feed (read: sitting at a red light).
Perhaps my musings as a crunchy-granola mama prompted her share, or maybe the photo from the early 80s that I posted on Facebook earlier that week, but probably just her own observations of how times have changed.
For kicks, though, here's the photo I posted on Facebook. It's me (squinting) and my next door neighbor, Jessica, on the first day of Kindergarten in 1981. (We have one from our senior year in 1993--frosted lipstick and all.)
I got over 80 likes on this photo which is some kind of Facebook record for me (not that I pay attention to things like that), and all thanks to tagging Jessica who clearly is more responsive to friend requests and suggestions than I am on Facebook. Among the comments, my mother said something about just picking up a lunchbox on sale for me. I didn't choose it; it was the cheapest one she could find.
And, it made me think through and compare (congratulatorily and cringily) my daughter's school preparation to that of the 70s and 80s.
I carefully researched lunchbox and backpack options before ordering both online several years ago. Neither contains nasty materials or chemicals, and the lunchbox is nicely insulated to keep her food reasonably coolish by lunchtime, and yes, the backpack has her initials on it (I bought it on clearance, you see; I felt I could splurge on a monogram).
She's allowed to choose from among several organic lunch items I try to keep in stock, including cheese, yogurt, lunch meats, fruits, and veggies, though I portion out a healthy ratio of protein to fruits/veggies. I fill her metal (BPA-free!) thermos with filtered water and plenty of ice as I sip my coffee, freshly ground from organic, fair trade Colombian beans (dark roast, please) that I order especially from farmers who have turned from the cocaine trade to the coffee one.
I peek at my phone in the down moments between breakfast preparation, lunch packing, clothes dressing and hair brushing. I check news headlines and information on my friends' lives through Facebook and Bloglovin feeds. Blog posts pile up mighty quick, and what's Garrison Keillor's poem for the day?
Both my children wear highly supportive New Balance sneakers with special orthotics for their pronated ankles. Other than that, their clothes are hand-me-downs, thrift or consignment store finds. I believe in recycling, you see--none of that fast fashion waste (or, um, in actuality, we're poor after spending so much on organic food and fair trade coffee).
I wrote my daughter a back to school letter about strengths and weaknesses and about the importance being brave and asking for help as well as helping others (that she refused to let me read).
And on the first day of school, my daughter lined up at the bus stop with all the other neighborhood kids with her supersafe backpack filled with all those school supplies and requested germ-killing donations. I took dozens of photos and stood, swallowing my tears, with all the other overprivileged, like-minded parents waving and blowing kisses as the bus drove off.
Oh, and did I mention that once a week my daughter sees a therapist for her anxiety? Don't worry, I'm not a hypochondriac; it was doctor recommended!
Roll you eyes, if you will. Or, perhaps, you're thinking, "That sounds remarkably like our house." I admit I have an avid, if not consistent, interest in ecological matters, I'm often stricken with anxiety and fears, and I am clearly swayed by the trends of our time (though I don't do anything I don't believe in).
At the end of every summer, I feel like a modern mama. I'm proud of some of my decisions, and some I wonder about. Which is probably how all those 70s mamas felt, too.