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Monday, August 30, 2010

The Deferred Meal Plan

My eldest daughter went off to college yesterday.  By all accounts, it is an emotional moment in the timeline of being a parent.  It's a huge milestone to have that leap of faith that your child will be fine, that they can take care of themselves, make friends, and eat right, RIGHT?  They have that meal plan after all. 

As I walked off after leaving my daughter behind in her dorm, a sudden thought flashed through my mind.  It was dinner time when we finished unpacking her stuff, and I was too hot to think about cooking.  My husband and two younger daughters were all waiting in a car, hot as heck, hungry and ready to go home.

I have to admit, I'm not one of those parents who relishes planning a meal for every night of the week.  I actually dread it, most of the time.  A Costco roasted chicken is a weekly meal at our home.  So it dawned on me.  Why can't we still be on a meal plan like my daughter is now?   She has it made.  Her dorm room is not like the dorm room I remember.  It is a suite for eight, with a little kitchenette, two closets per person, internet access, cable TV, and around her neck is her lanyard with, literally, her meal ticket. With this meal ticket she can go to over twelve different restaurants within the Dining Commons, including Jamba Juice and Don Lupe's Taqueria.  There's even a Vietnamese restaurant. 

My question is why did the meal plan have to end just because college did?  Once you start working, that's when you need a meal plan, - and especially when you become a parent.  When you go to college part of that educational experience should be learning how to cook, how to do laundry and the very important - how to organize a garage so two cars can park in it. 

If we really thought harder about our map in life, it shouldn't take long to realize that the time we really need a meal plan is when we have a van full of children, shuttling them to and fro from school to soccer with no time to cook.  When a parent is changing diapers and existing on two hours of sleep, the only thing they can whip up in the kitchen is a bowl of cereal with curdled milk. 

So I'd like to propose a new college plan.  The "Deferred Later In Life Meal Plan".  You can pay for it at the same time as when you attend college, but you get to pick the time period when it really has an impact.  I'm in the second year of my photography start-up with my blogging and business partner, and this is the time we really need a good meal plan. 

The Deferrred Meal Plan - yeah, that's the ticket!

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