I love surprising my 3rd-grader at school for a lunch visit. Been known to do so a couple of times here and there. It’s a popular thing to do among parents.

I even mentioned to a teacher last year that I probably wouldn’t continue the practice much in the future, as Griffin would be entering the third grade and it would likely not be considered ‘cool’ to dine with your old mom.

She told me that’s not the case, that the school has an open-door policy, and even fourth-graders enjoy seeing a familiar face from home. Obviously, by the time these kids get to intermediate school, they’d rather dine with the kid who picks his nose and doesn’t wash his hands than the ol’ dreaded parent.

So, yesterday, I waltzed in with a pizza delivery in hand, ready to make my 3rd-grader’s day.

Or so I thought.

He seemed thrilled to see me, but more so because he gets to eat in the atrium and pick two friends to join him, not to mention the lure of pizza and breadsticks. The rest of the lunch was clearly all about boy talk, with the occasional glance in my direction. That’s when it hit me. He’d outgrown me. The nostalgia had worn off, and though he enjoyed the treat of Pizza Hut for lunch, my presence really didn’t matter.

And that’s okay.

Part of getting older, though it’s not always easy to accept. I remember smiling to myself that this was probably a turning point, and mentioned it briefly later that night:

Me: Hey, Griff…just wanted you to know I won’t show up for lunch anymore at school.

Him: What do ya’ mean?

Me: You know. You’re getting bigger, and probably don’t need me bopping in. I noticed you were busy visiting with your buddies, and that’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s part of getting older.

Him: Well, Mommmmmmmm. I liked you visiting me today.

Me: I know. But, I could tell you were doing just fine on your own. Hey, that’s a good thing!

Him: Well, I still love you, ya’ know.

Me: Yeah, I know.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I’ll really miss the school’s salad bar. That was good stuff. So, maybe I’ll show up and get a plate to go one day.