We Are Both Right

Thankful for a Thanksgiving Table with Room for Everyone

© We Are Both Right

© We Are Both Right

My 7-year-old self would have been very lonely at a kids’ table on Thanksgiving. Every year we celebrated at my maternal grandparent’s house (Memaw and Bepaw) and I was the only grandchild on that side of the family at that time (my sister is nine years younger than me, my brother 11).

But not only would my younger self been sitting by my her lonesome at a table, she probably would have been pretty annoyed too. My Memaw and Bepaw made a big fuss over Thanksgiving, always including me in the preparation process. I can remember spending many “Thanksgiving Eve’s” at their home helping to get everything ready. After a big slumber party, we’d all wake up early and put the turkey in the oven. I’d help snap string beans and set the table while we waited for the other guests to arrive. And when it was time to carve, I’d dutifully stand by my Bepaw’s side as he worked, happy to accept any samples he was willing to slip me (lots).

The Thanksgiving meal, and the buildup to it, was (and still is) always about family. If after spending all that wonderful time with my grandparents I had been relegated to sit away from all the grown-ups, I think I might have been a little hurt. Now obviously our situation was different as there was only at most on any given year, three children at our Thanksgiving table, but still, I liked being with the grownups. Being a part of the conversation. And the family.

And even if the house had been teaming with kids, I’m still not sure the idea of a kids’ table on Thanksgiving (or any holiday for that matter) would have been a good fit for us, then and now. I mean, in our family anyway, we make a big deal about eating dinner together every night. Why, on what is arguably the most special meal of the year, would I separate myself from the people I love the most?  (Wow, that came out a lot more heavy-handed and judge-y than it sounded in my head.)

It’s true though. For me, Thanksgiving is about family and three-fifths of my immediate one all happen to be under five feet tall (although my 10-year-old is closer and closer to negating that  by the second) and are too young to know what a VCR is. Does that automatically mean they should have to sit by themselves? (Only if they start making fun of us for having to fast-forward to get to the good parts.)

And from a practical standpoint, I think a kids’ table is actually more stressful for parents, especially if younger children are part of the dining entourage. I’m constantly being asked to cut up food, mop up milk, pour more milk — the closer the proximity to the children and their places, the faster I can put out fires and get back to my own meal (and if there are lots of other adults at the table, that means there are lots more hands to help).

In any case, for our family, this year there is no need to even question the need for a kids’ table. We have a lot going on later on in this holiday season so in the interest of maximizing our family time,  T. and I decided that the main part of the Thanksgiving meal will be spent at our home, just us five.

And when we are finished, we will head over to my sister’s house for dessert  – where the little ones will be happily dispersed amongst the grownups.

Where do your kids sit for the Thanksgiving meal?

Originally published November, 2010

It’s Always More Fun at the Thanksgiving Kids’ Table

When I was a kid, with nine cousins over a fifteen-year age span, the kids’ table at holiday dinners was the hot spot.

It was the stuff memories are made of — clams oreganato eating contests, smack talk about the Monopoly game underway, and brainstorms for yet another original theatrical performance which we would always make the adults endure before coffee was served. (I still remember being pretty bummed when I finally graduated to the adult table as a senior in high school.)

The tradition of a holiday kids’ table still exists in our family, although most of the time now it’s an appendage to the main dining table as opposed to the exclusive seating we had at my parent’s house. There are also less kids overall, with the max being four on either side of the family.

Not quite the level of excitement it used to be — but for me the kids’ table is always more fun. Since this is a holiday from work, I would much rather be debating our favorite episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba (and whether Lance Rock was wearing the orange sneakers or the white) than haranguing about mid-term elections.

falconreid/stock.xchng

For Thanksgiving this year it will just be my two — so we’re planning to take the far end of the table which actually juts out into the foyer of my in-laws’ house. It will still be decorated with linens and china, but we skip the wine glasses and keep the bowl of cranberry sauce snuggly planted at the other end of the table. This arrangement also allows the kids a quick escape when they’ve had their fill on the first course and we excuse them until the turkey comes out later in the afternoon.

Mainly it was out of necessity that my husband and I started sitting at the Thanksgiving kids’ table when our son was a toddler. Someone had to take the place of honor at the far end and it might as well have been us, since we needed to hop up and down on a moment’s notice.

But neither of us seemed to mind the “preferred seating” and we plan to keep our spots until the incoming nieces/nephews bump us over to adult territory.

For reasons that include peace of mind, I hope the tradition of the kids’ table lives on until my children pass the final exam at the etiquette school I keep threatening to send them to. (Or until there are enough other little kids running around that no one can pinpoint just who spilled the ketchup on the new, creamy white, fabric-covered dining room chair.)

Will there be a Thanksgiving kids’ table at your celebration next week? Was there one when you were a kid?

Originally published November, 2010

Best of: Thankful Thoughts

Giving thanks

Giving thanks... ©Marinka van Holten/stock.xchng

When do you stop and think about all that you are thankful for?

How often do you count your blessings?

Of course, Thanksgiving is always a good excuse to reflect, but we don’t have to wait until the actual holiday to consider all of the people and things in our lives that we appreciate.

We’ve decided to add a thankful thought to our site every day leading up to Thanksgiving.

And once we’re on a roll, it just might be something we get in the habit of doing even more frequently. After all, it’s a great way to begin or end any day, and a wonderful tradition to share with a child.

We are thankful for…

children who crave love more than perfection

crisp fall nights where darkness falls early and there’s a pot of homemade soup on the stove

a child who is willing to share his hard-earned stockpile of Snickers

being an optimist. Even when I’m at my lowest, if I just give myself some time, I’m always able to find that silver lining

friends, mine and my children’s

daylight savings time (we needed that extra hour this weekend!)

that gas prices are dropping (for now)

that my two older children embrace the titles of “big brother” and “big sister” so readily and happily

the chance to make the most of a new day

episodes of Blue’s Clues free on demand from my cable company (my 2-year-old is a huge fan!)

the troops (current and past) who have had to leave behind their own families to protect ours

long weekends away with my husband

that my husband has made a family tradition out of his big Sunday morning breakfasts

my children’s teachers (past and present) for helping shape who they are becoming

that my daughter has a knack for memorizing songs and singing them in the sweetest voice ever

that my son got a new book today and hasn’t been able to put it down

having family to depend upon

great report cards (and the kids that earned them)

that I can still raid my mom’s closet

friends who help you out in a pinch

a sunroom that doubles as an indoor playground so the kids can still burn off energy even when the temperature outside take a dip

my family — my husband who makes me laugh every day and my children who taught me the true meaning of unconditional love

that the guy who misread my signals 18 years ago today decided to ask me out on a date anyway

…not to mention that we are thankful to you for being a part of We Are Both Right, and would love for you to help our list grow by adding your thankful thoughts below.