The worst part of the day was dinner - I always had to sit at the "children's table".
Until I was about 11 or 12, the children's table was fine. Most of the children were my age or just a tad older or younger and we had fun. Usually it was just a card table or two to fit the cousins who weren't yet older teens. Or the children the adults (meaning my Grampa) didn't feel like hearing from or speaking to during the meal. Don't get me wrong, my Grampa Anderson was awesome, at least as Grampas go. But he was tough and intimidating and unless you KNEW he was joking with you, you always wondered if you were in trouble. I don't ever remember getting in trouble with my Grampa so either I didn't or I have repressed it due to PTSD.
The only problem is that I never, ever, ever left the children's table. The older cousins - those older than I as well as one my age moved away and rarely returned for Thanksgiving. My father's younger siblings began having children and before I knew it my younger brother and I were the only "older" cousins left. No one would consider asking a boy to watch the little cousins at the children's table so I was it. And as the little cousins grew in number my brother was even promoted to the "adult" table.
Unlike my daughter who would have been honored to be the one to watch the little cousins during dinner, I was completely resentful. I detested every minute of time with the little cousins BUT I am not sure anyone ever knew it. I had good parents and they taught me how to behave. I had great grandparents who also taught me how to behave and I had plenty of aunts and uncles and much older cousins who were more than happy to help with my behavior instruction if necessary. We have lost a lot with all the moving our society has done over the past many years.
I can't remember if we have ever eaten Thanksgiving dinner with our whole immediate family in 28 years of marriage. There are actual cousins and aunts and uncles that I ate Thanksgiving dinner with every year as a child that my husband doesn't even know.
I miss those days, sort of. I have fond memories - memories that flood my mind on Thanksgiving day every year but a lot has changed. Gramma and Grampa have both died. Aunts and Uncles have since divorced and remarried. Older and younger cousins have since gotten married and had children of their own and are eating Thanksgiving dinners at other homes with other family.
|Kate, Sam, MJF, and Josh|
Things have changed for us as well. This Thanksgiving we are one short as we sit around our little kitchen table to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Drew is happily having Thanksgiving dinner on Beale AFB with a whole bunch of Airmen and NCOs courtesy of one of the Staff Sgt's. Apparently this is not uncommon. There are quite a few NCOs who foot the bill and invite all the young, unmarried and away from family Airmen to their homes to enjoy some form of family, even if it's their Air Force Family.
Before I know it, Sam too will be gone and behind him Josh and Kate. It seems that it will be awhile but I have learned how fast time flies. I am just hoping that as Josh and Kate grow up and leave home Drew and Sam will be returning with their own little ones and my role will change. I will be the one being called Gramma.
I guess I better start saving for a 15 foot long dining room table.