My Montana family that we spend the holidays with is all grown up. What that means is there is no longer a kiddie table at Thanksgiving. That is a huge milestone for the kids. It is a bigger deal than getting your driver’s license because that does not automatically move you to the adult table. There is some secret magical criteria that only moms get to see that tells them when their youngsters are ready to graduate from that table reserved for all the kids.
When I was a kid growing up the kiddie table was made up of my cousins, my brothers and me. My grandma’s house was a tight fit and I can remember years where if it was not too cold out that the kids would relegated to the picnic table in the back yard. If it was too cold for that we would be sent to the front room as not to disturb the men watching football on TV. I did not get to move from the kiddie table until I had moved away from home. I wonder what that says about me?
The kiddie table was a great bonding time for the cousins. We did not all live close to one another so we only saw each other at major holidays. We quickly found old bonds and made new ones. We did things that you could only do at the kids table, tell jokes, burb, laugh until Kool-Aid came out your nose, and try and one up your cousin. You could be loud, not worry about proper manners, play with your food and con someone in to eating that stuff that your mom put on your plate you hated. There were lots of things that you only could experience at the kiddie table.
I on the other hand have never had children. Not being a Mom I did not understand how you decided who was sent to the kiddie table and who went to the regular table. When it came time for me to start hosting Thanksgiving I took the easy way out, one table. I put the kids and adults all at the same table. They were all mixed up, no kids end or segregation. In retrospect I never gave a thought about a second table and if it would have it more comfortable for my guests. Did the kids find the conversation boring? Did adults not get to relax because they were worried about if their child would behave? I wonder if I was doing a disservice to the kids who joined us as they did not get to chat up a storm and be goofy as my cousins and I once were. Or was I giving them a boost by including them in the adult world? Someday I will ask my nieces, nephews and the friends they brought with them to our house for Thanksgiving dinner, was the lack of kiddie table good or bad move on my part? Maybe the fact they brought their friends with them Thanksgiving at our home says it all. Maybe it wasn’t normal, but was worth sharing with your friends; good eats and good times.