Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Big-Girl Table.

I hated it when we had company... because I always had to sit at the kiddie-table.

Perhaps table is too generous of a term.  Rather, it was a rubbery, forest-green slab attached to four metal legs.  It reminded me of something that you would see in a retirement home, where fellow-wrinkly-chums would sit together and play cards.  Ironic...given that the kids sit at this table.

The Big-Girl Table sat six people, and "company" usually involved two guests.  Thus, the two youngest kids (Bekki and Brigham) were booted to that abominable kiddie-table.  Even as Kristin and Kylie left for college, the number of guests conveniently increased.

And it came to pass that in those days, we were confined to the regions of darkness, shunned from intellectually-stimulating conversations, and forced to satiate our hunger in isolation and sorrow.  And there was much weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

On my 16th birthday, I thought, "16 is a big birthday...and I can drive... therefore, I am a big girl, and I can sit at the Big-Girl Table." I still sat at the kiddie-table.  Brigham lovingly saved a place for me.

On my 18th birthday, I thought, "18 is a huge birthday. I can vote...and get married...and get convicted as an adult...and buy a Costco membership...therefore, I am a big girl, and I can sit at the Big-Girl Table."  I still sat at the kiddie-table, and then, I left for college.

I think my frustration with the kiddie-table reflected a desire to grow up... to be a "Big Girl" just like Mom.  But now that I am an adult, I am recognizing that it's not all that fun, sometimes.  For instance, getting the mail is just sad... bill after bill after bill after bill.  And cooking my favorite recipes?  It's not the same, and it's not how Mom makes it.  Sometimes I wish that she was here, cooking dinner in her special way, teaching me the rules of kick-butt-coupon-shopping, hugging me and telling me that she loves me before I go to bed...

Being a responsible adult is hard and daunting, and I wish I could tell my 12-year-old self, "Don't grow up too fast, kid! Childhood will be gone before you know it."  So when I go home, and we have company, I think I'll be okay sitting at the kiddie-table.  I'm sure Brigham is still saving a spot for me.  


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