Sitting at the Kid Table

Does anyone out there know the feeling of being the oldest child? The firstborn, not only of your own siblings, but of a whopping 25 grandchildren?

It came with a whole other level of expectations, one of which was: you’ll never be old enough to sit at the adult table for Thanksgiving.

Ever.

Your job is to stay outside with the other 24 kids and babysit. But it was couched under, “There just aren’t enough chairs to go ‘round, dear.”

The kid table was always outside and the adult table was always inside.

The concept of “separate but equal” was proclaimed yearly and with heart-felt emotion by the parents, who insisted we would lack nothing of the culinary delights piled high in the kitchen.

I do believe they thought I believed them.

That somehow, I wouldn’t notice that the table indoors was laid with fine china, gold forks, fancy linens and wine glasses. That I actually enjoyed sitting in the yard with paper plates, lots of napkins, and little JimBob throwing his mashed potatoes at little Thelma Lou.

Understand, that if they let you move, a precedent will be set in which eventually all 25 “children” will end up sitting with the adults.

We can’t have that now can we? There wouldn’t be enough chocolate cream pie.

There’s just enough for the adult table.

But not if we have to share with everyone.

And you have to draw the line somewhere.

This is just one of the treasured conspiracy theories that we pass around today, some 25 years or so later, at the “not kid table”. My cousins and I get together once in a while and play, “Do you remember?” and surprisingly, we do.

Not that I’m bitter.

It’s one of the great many things I promised myself I wouldn’t be carrying over into the next generation.

At least not at my house.

Oh yes, commence the “I have a dream” speech please, and add some “When I’M a grown-up….” Put plenty of “always” and “never”s in it.

And then come over for Thanksgiving, which happens to be my favorite holiday.

We run with a “the more, the merrier” motto and if you show up with a covered dish of some kind, you’re welcome to sit anywhere you please.

I encourage my kids to sit with me.

You’ll find them over there, at a table they proclaim to be strictly “kids only”.

They’re laughing and carrying on and only occasionally throwing the mashed potatoes.

Pass me that chocolate pie.

What's 1/25th of a pie?

What’s 1/25th of a pie?

6 thoughts on “Sitting at the Kid Table

  1. Pam Schlottman

    How wonderful. I love your article and the fact that you want all the kids to sit at the adult table, If possible, or maybe make two adult tables. I also love Thanksgiving. When I was young it was always or most of the time just the three of us. Mom and Dad and me. I LOVE to have lots of people at thanksgiving. We are so blessed to live in this country and have so many friends. Thanks for the memories.

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  2. Anonymous

    As one of the “little” cousins, I was blessed with being the flower girl in your wedding and having you babysit us while Dad worked. To me you always were the grown up while I was still a child. Not surprised that you have included your children in the grown up clan. You always have.

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  3. Kiki

    It’s funny how so many households are the same. I barely remember the kids table, but then I was amongst the youngest. We do sometimes have a kids table for holidays when my whole family gets together purely based on space. But usually we just make a really really long table which seems to get longer every year. Thanks for the memory.

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