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.
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.
Not in 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 mix it up and sit with me.
You’ll find them over there, at a table they insist is strictly “kids only”.
They’re laughing and carrying on and only occasionally throwing the mashed potatoes.
Pass me that chocolate pie.