Thursday, September 16

Kiddie Table

There is an adult table, and I used to long for the time when I'd be grown-up enough to sit over there. It's where they sit and talk about stuff that adults talk about, and they laugh, and they pass the potatoes, and they share knowing glances.

A few years back, it became apparent that it would be almost impossible to move up the rungs of the ladder to the extent that I would get my own spot at the adult table. I was a little pissed off, at first. I felt a little hurt, that at 19, living on my own, making my way, there still wasn't enough room for me over there. I still sat with the kids, at their table. For about a year, I was a little pissy, sitting at the Kiddie Table. Then I got over it. I started having fun with the kids. Chad, in particular, is funny shit, and it's sort of a game, to see how much food I can make him almost-spit-out, with my verbal observations.

At Christmas 2003, my Aunt Debbie made a jello mold. It was layered with red and green jello, with red and green opaque-jello-like-substance in between the layers.

Chad is 14.. maybe 15 now, and he's one of those bean-pole kids. He got that gene. In my family, the girls are usually small-boned, and tall (have no idea where I came from, little miss wide and squat, haha); the boys have two shapes: Long and Skinny (like Mitchel), and Tall and Robust (like the Uncles and Robby). Chad is Long and Skinny. Like I said, I think he was 14, at the time, so he's growing really really fast. He's taller than I am, has been for quite some time. He eats like a pig, only more food, and with less grace.

I sat and watched him during that meal, totally in awe. I barely touched my own plate, for fear of missing some of the show. He didn't notice that I was staring until he was on his third (full!) plate of food. By this time, you'd think he'd be slowing down. Not Chad! Quite the little trooper, he was plunging in with as much zeal as he'd had on the first. Awesome.

So anyway, I was staring, slack-jawed, as he slid his spoon underneath the bottom two layers of his jello-mold. The surface area of this piece was about the size of a small piece of bread. He slid the spoon underneath, and picked it up a few inches. Realizing that the jello was about to falter and break, he reacted with lightning-fast reflexes, diving down and taking it into his mouth with one fell-sluuurp! Once he had it in his mouth, he realized what he'd done, and took a quick glance around, mouth still full of jello, to see if anyone had caught him in the act. Indeed I had.

You know how, sometimes, you see something that is so funny that it catches you off-guard, and your brain doesn't register what to do with the information at first? You pause, because you're trying to put your brain around the event, and you can't quite comprehend the fact that it did indeed happen? That's the point where I was, when he made eye contact. My mouth was open, my jaw was hanging, and I bet there was more than a little bit of twinkle in my eye, when he caught me watching him. The corners of my mouth had just started to turn up, and when his eye caught mine, it was the breaking point. The straw on the back of my complete and utter breakdown of hysterical laughter. And the beautiful thing was, after I started, they all caved in.

It was the Kiddie Table's FINEST HOUR.

Ever since that fateful day, when we were all rolling around in our chairs, laughing hysterically, the tension at the adult table has risen. It's reached a fevered pitch, at times, with all of them watching us with suspicion, out of the corners of their eyes. Sometimes they even pretend that there's not enough room for all of them, and send someone in, to supervise us. Make sure we don't get out of control in our antics. Even better, sometimes one of the really GOOD adults will come in, because they're jealous, and want to have fun like we do. It makes me proud, and I never want to leave our table. It's a thing of glory, to never feel like an adult, and I'm damn glad to be a part of something like that. I never want to grow up.


B said...

I remember the kiddie table. Still there, in fact. Someone else has to vacate a seat in order to move to the Adult table. It's like survivor, except played with lives. The kids are all older now, in my family. We arent the lowest kiddie table anymore. The kiddies have kiddies, and that makes the whole holiday dining structure different. Soon, we will have too many people for all these tables. It might mean an entirely new structure. All I know, is I'll still be sitting with my favorite kiddies, just like always.

Cleo said...

I LOVE the kiddie table!!! On my dad's side of the family, I was the youngest kid for a very long time, so that was where I got to learn all the fun words. I distinctly remember hearing the word "penis" for the first time and nearly snorting Pepsi out my nose!

One of my fellow kiddies is getting married in October. Many of the other kiddies have kiddies, too. So it's not quite the same. But I love my fellow kiddies, and am so very excited to see them again at the wedding.