The School Lunch Blindside

There are a few things that happen after a car accident that they don’t tell you about. Such as how the muscles in your ten fingers will ache and simple tasks – like wrapping your daughter’s ponytail with an elastic or shampooing your hair – become all awkward and send spasms up your wrists to your elbows.

But everything aches. It’s just that sore fingers are a new sensation after thirty seven years.

Before Sunday, I never knew what would happen nearly every time you close your eyes in the days following a car crash. I’ve discovered that as soon as they’re shut, your mind hits “Play” on a little memory it has called “The Moment of Impact”. The replay is startling every single time: from the sickening, heart-dropping slam of metal on metal to the thud of your head on the side window.

What people do tell you is that you will be sore, maybe even for weeks, and that you should rest as much as possible. Oh perfect. Not a problem. Just as soon as I get these three kids a hot breakfast, out the door for their first day of school, meet the teachers and lug a wailing and writhing Clara out of the school yard because she wants to go to ‘cool too.

So to backtrack: yes, I was involved in a car accident this weekend, with my three littles in the min van. Essentially, one of my worst fears realized. It was my fault, though I’m trying not to blame myself, as I just didn’t see the on coming little Civic tucked in behind an SUV. For once, I wasn’t tired or stressed, I wasn’t in a hurry or even late. I was just pulling out of a parking lot and wham: the car I never saw coming slammed into the front of the driver’s side.


The rest is like a rapid slideshow of images: the children’s frightened faces, the pieces of my van scattered over the road, a woman driving by in slow motion mouthing ‘are you okay?’, the van’s instantly suffocating heat when the AC went out, and how my stomach felt when they hoisted my van onto a flatbed. Incredibly, the children came through completely unharmed.

So all this to say, my enthusiastic return-to-school lunch plans for this week were completely blindsided. My efforts literally squashed in a car accident on the day before school began.

I had plans to bake bread, a wholesome wheat lunchbox loaf, only my hands don’t work normally yet and I don’t trust my wrists to place anything in and out of the oven. I wanted to bake zucchini bread or at least muffins, but I’m supposed to be resting, not making and doing dishes.

I haven’t stocked the pantry – or even the fridge, for that matter. Thank goodness for loads of fresh eggs, a bag of Montreal bagels in the freezer, and apples from their grandparent’s tree because that is what the boys have been taking to school. And that’s been fine, just fine.

Boys to school

Despite my wanting to make the boys’ return to school special, I’ve realized that just being here is enough. Kids don’t really care about cookies or fresh bread (okay, they kind of do). For once, I don’t have to listen to my creative side which is just itching to put together a wholesome, creative lunchbox.

I’ve learned a thing or two this summer about leaning back and gaining perspective on a situation. The big picture today is: I’m not in the hospital, I’m healthy – I’m home. I’m so very thankful for that.

On the rare occasion when I do get to rest, I’ve been reading. There’s plenty of inspiration out there for lunches, should you be looking. Here’s a few places to start, along with my 29 New Lunchbox Ideas.

NEW lunchbox ideas | Simple Bites

How was your return to a fall routine?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Hi Aimee I’m so glad you and your kids were not hurt! Praying for your recovery from the soreness. Hugs

  2. Well, THAT’s scary. I’m glad you’re okay.

  3. So sorry to hear of your collision. Try to enlist help from others while you recover & focus on getting well. The emotional toll is just as awful as the physical, based on my personal experience. Get support & give yourself time. (Virtual hug).

  4. Oh gosh Aimee, that must have been so scary! So glad to hear that everyone is healthy and in one piece.

    And yes I’ve also (unfortunately) learned a few things this summer about gaining perspective…and health is something to be pretty grateful for, regardless of the circumstances.

    I can’t imagine a kid turning his nose up at a Montreal bagel and a homegrown apple (lucky boys!) so keep on doing what you can and you will likely have your mojo back before you know it :-).


  5. P/s your kiddos are stinkin’ cute. That pic of the boys! Eeeps.

  6. So sorry to hear about this, Aimee. Glad you’re all okay. And you’re right – events like that have a way of putting everything else into perspective, and that’s a blessing!

  7. How scary for all of you! I’m glad that the kids are ok and hope that you are back to feeling better ASAP. In a crisis situation you get to rethink how things that always seemed so important can take a back seat temporarily. (Upon re-reading this – no pun intended!) Your kids will still eat, and though there are things you want to be doing, the time will come when you will be back to doing them. Until then, rest and get better. Prayers are sent your way!

  8. I’m glad that you and the kids weren’t seriously injured. So scary! The emotional shakeup is pretty powerful. Rest and recover well.

  9. Oh wow, so scary! I’m so happy to hear you all came out safe and sound! Wishing you a good recovery, take good care of yourself.

  10. I’m so glad you’re ok (only sore) and that your kids are all good. That’s the most important thing. Everything else – replaceable. Please take it easy and recover. I hope your neighbors are bringing you some meals. – All the best, Dana

  11. I’m so glad you are okay and I hope there is an army of locals to bring you food and help you rest. I would if I was there!

  12. Thank God that you and the kids are okay… and prayers that your soreness will subside soon.

  13. Kimberley Mulla says

    I am so sorry about your accident and so happy to hear that you are all okay. But still such a scary experience. You are so right that all that really matters is that you’re home with your kids packing whatever into lunches and able to hug them when they get home. Take care of yourself. Sending big hugs. (Ps. There’s snow on Hudson Bay Mountain)

  14. What a story — so glad everyone’s okay.

    I’ve been thinking about people who live with chronic pain every day, after this week cutting my ankle on a rusty fence (cut/bruised/sore) and the necessary tetanus shot (yikes, totally aches) and then yesterday cut myself on a microplane and later scraped it with an emery board — so I was hurtin’ like everywhere and realized that these tiny little things were big (and that I AM A WIMP) and what it must be like for people who have really big injuries, really big pain and all the time. I am humbled …

  15. So glad you and the children are ok. Life and health are precious!! Please rest up and take care.

  16. Aimee, wow. Glad to hear you’re okay. I was in a car accident a few years back and I still see split seconds of it literally every time I pass that intersection. Sending you virtual hugs.

  17. “Being here is enough” – amen to that. Your boys will have their awesome homemade lunches again in due time and in the meantime they’re still getting sent off to school with love. Hope you are recovering well.

  18. Just focus on the here and now and that means focusing on getting better – you can let the other stuff go for a little bit. You’ve raised two very industrious little boys (which you should be so ridiculously proud of) who I’m pretty sure can help you make some lunches (and dinners and breakfasts!) and would probably love it! Get better xo

  19. Aimee, you’ve been in my thoughts and prayers since I heard about it, so scary and changes everything so fast. Rest up as you can, the emotions take a hard beating in any kind of loss. XO

  20. I’m glad you are all okay. It’s amazing how much things can hurt after a car accident! There will be time in the future to make the homemade bread and cookies.

  21. So glad you are all okay! It was scary to see that picture come through this weekend. I can’t imagine what it was like inside the van.

    One new idea that I’m mulling over is the thought of having a “rolling start” to the school year. There’s a lot of pressure to do ALL the things and meet all the “mama expectations” from the very first day of school. Maybe we feel like if we start off doing everything right at the beginning, then we can slowly slack off over the year.

    I read a homeschool mama that decided to do the opposite – she’s starting with one subject the first week and adding the next subject the next. What if we did that with our own mama expectations for public school as well? Start small. Focus on doing one thing well – get to school on time and make sure everyone knows the bus/pick-up routine. Maybe they eat bagels and apples all week. Maybe they buy school lunch all week. That’s okay. Do one thing well.

    But then, keep rolling! Next week, add making wholesome lunch 2 days/week. The week after, you tackle that goal of walking to school on Mondays instead of driving, or whatever it is that you’ve told yourself will make the year amazing.

    I had great intentions of setting a family goal/motto for the new school year, but I didn’t get it in place before school started. Instead of throwing in the towel, we’ll just talk about that for the 3rd week of school. Lots of year ahead to “get it right.”

    • And… apparently I should add “check the weather forecast and dress appropriately” as something to add to our mornings next week. Sent my kids in shorts and sandals today. It’s now dark clouds and raining. Oops.

    • I LOVE this, Alissa. Makes so much sense instead of grinding the gears, right?

  22. So glad you and your kids are okay. Praying as you recover … but you’re so wise to give yourself the time and margin to be able to do so. Grace in these times is so important!

  23. Goodness! I am so glad that your children are okay and that the accident wasn’t any worse on you. I hope that you find the time you need to rest and process things emotionally. I will be praying for a peaceful start to the school year for your kids and a lot of small moments of joy that help you get through a difficult week. And for little Clara who I’m sure misses her brothers a lot!

    This summer was perspective-inducing for a lot of us, it seems. You are so right– what matters is that you are there and cheering your kids on, even if it isn’t with healthy, homemade food right now. Take it easy and enjoy being HOME!

  24. So sorry to hear about your car accident. I am sure your boys did not starve in school! Life has a way of reminding us what is important. This time last year I was very ill and the difference time will make is unbelievable. Find yourself a physical therapist who will help guide your recovery and you will get better! Good luck.

  25. Just adding my voice to those wishing you well in your recovery. Go to physio, go to massage, go to yoga – do whatever helps you feel better. Stretch and soak with Epsom salts. Revel in your children.


  26. So sorry to hear about your accident! I’m glad you and the little ones are ok, it must have been so frightening for you knowing that your children are in the car with you.

    I discovered your site a few years ago, did a few recipes, and loved them, but kinda stopped visiting… However, yesterday I packed my son’s first school lunch, and let’s just say it was not an awesome, I feel like an amazing mom experience. So this morning your website popped in my head and sure enough, here are great ideas to make our life easier and healthier.

    So thank you; thank you for your site and thank you for putting this post up even though you are going through a more difficult week.

  27. Hope you feel better with each day that goes by. PS. I had to tell you that your boys are SO cute, with their hair combed/styled and their backpacks. Love it!!

  28. Aimee,

    I am so sorry to hear you were in an accident! I hope that you start to feel more like yourself soon. Please take all the rest you can and pay attention to your body – if something starts to feel wrong, don’t hesitate to go to your doctor! My mother was in a car accident and because the worker’s compensation would not agree to pay for her care in a timely fashion (she was on the job at the time), it has turned into permanent damage in her arm, neck, and shoulder. That is certainly the last thing anyone needs, let alone someone who has a young daughter to lift throughout the day and young sons to keep up with! I send you love and healing energy, and I hope that your recovery is swift and certain. While we on the ‘net love what you bring to the table, your family loves and needs you more, and I am certain that if you needed to take a break from blogging, we would understand!

  29. Golly. That’s quite the dramatic event! I am so glad you are okay. And, your story was all too familiar. Our Outback was rear-ended after two weeks at the cottage this August. I was driving, and two of our three were in the back. All I can remember is hearing my little girl saying, “Oh my, oh my, oh my…” (which is better than what I said). After the volunteer fire department and local police (and OPP) took care of us (so much praise for their concern), we found the car was still driveable, but getting back behind the wheel after all of the shock was really HARD and our bodies HURT. Peace to you and your fam, and I hope your return to school is full of calmness and grace : )

    • p.s. If I lived nearby, I’d totally bring you a freezer meal or care package : )

    • Pippa thanks for the note and the support. It helps to know I’m not totally insane. The emotional shock is enormous. Seemingly everything triggers tears – an ambulance on the road.. an aggressive driver – and I’m left hoping that life goes back to normal soon.
      I’m sorry to hear about your experience, but am glad it wasn’t any worse.

  30. Hello. Just dropping you a line land hoping that you feel better each day.

  31. Glad you are okay. Always focus on driving. Kids are my life. I always remember family .

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