Last week was really stressful. I can hardly begin to describe it. A mesh of hospital appointments, play dates, filming, work deadlines and a late night school disco, left me reeling and chasing moments to work and seconds to relax. By the time Friday rolled around, I was exhausted and ready for a break.
What I didn’t know was, the real stressful moment was still to arrive, but I would handle it remarkably well.
And arrive it did, at 8.03 on Friday morning, as I was buttering sandwiches to tickle the kids taste-buds at school, when Twin Boy suddenly piped up,
“Mum, don’t put our lunch in our lunch box, it is the school trip remember.”
Christ on a bike, I had totally forgotten that the kids were heading off to a museum for the day, dragging their teacher, 27 other kids, and a few parental volunteers along for the ride. They needed a packed lunch, but that day, it had to be in a carrier bag which could be disposed of after eating.
The stress engulfed me as I dove into the garage and dragged out my wicker bag for life that was full to the brim of plastic bags. Now you may or may not know that the twins started at a new primary school in September, where we are still making friends and settling in. My choice of plastic bag could be crucial. What would my throwaway lunch bag say about us.
The question plagued me as the minutes ticked by.
I considered, should I go honest and choose one of the many Aldi bags in front of me. God knows at 3p a bag, I had spent enough on them. But, although I am Aldi and proud, I didn’t quite know if I was ready to be ‘out’ in front of the whole world. Close firends in one thing, but to throw myself out of the supermarket cupboard in front of the whole school? I wasnt sure Aldi and I were ready for the schools reaction.
I spotted a black bag and pulled it out of the chaos. The words TopShop glared at me in white writing. I threw this bag into the reject pile immediately, realizing that everyone would think he who helped create them was having an affair, because there is no way my comfy sweaters and appropiatly sized jeans come from the teen dream shop.
The blue and bag striped bags looked at me and I could have swore I heard one say ‘pick me, pick me,’ as I reached out towards them. Then in the background between bites of the cheaper version of Rice Krispies, I heard ‘Twin Boy shout, ‘If you stick my lunch in a pound shop bag, I will leave it in the car and starve.’
It seems my ‘bagism’ has afflicted the children as well.
Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s – I had at least one bag from each, but did I want to be seen as taking the safe option? Did I want to teach my children to always walk on the path most tread, to take the middle ground, to not show their individuality.
The two hands on the clock twitched impatiently as my confusion went on and I continued to search for a bag to house the twin’s lunches.
Then I saw them, two quiet unassuming plain white bags at the bottom of the pile, unbranded, unmarked, and still in usable condition.
I fist pumped and hugged the kids as I filled the plain bags with sandwiches, fruit, crisps and treats. I sent the kids to school with bags they would be proud to throw away, one’s which only bore the letters of their name and not a single mark of consumerism.
When I regaled the tale of my fight against branding later that evening to he who helped create them, he looked at me with a bit of alarm in his eyes, passed me the wine and suggested I took it easier next week.
I have no idea why, I think I dealt with the stress of the week in a perfectly, normal, rational way.