Why I Belong At The Kids' Table

by Rachael Pavlik
Originally Published: 
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If you grew up spending most holidays with an army of extended family, you no doubt, at one time or another, found yourself banished to the hinterlands, aka, the “kids’ table.” We all had to do our time — we just prayed to someday move it on up, to the east side — “to that deeeluxe table… in the sky..” er, dining room.

Ah, yes, the big table. The adult table: Linens. Stemware. Candles. Booze. As a teen, I was convinced the big table was where all fascinating secrets of adulthood were revealed. Moving up to the big table was a milestone I very much looked forward to. There I would sit, napkin on lap and finally understand all things adult. Perhaps we would politely discuss politics, our favorite wine pairings and they’d let me in on which Jackie Collins novels had the raunchiest sex stuff in them. I just knew being an adult was gonna be so kick ass, right?!


You get married, have kids, and realize that was all a lie and this “adulting” bullshit is actually the worst. Now, you have responsibilities and a mortgage. You don’t have time to even read Jackie Collins’ vanilla smut between plucking your rogue chin hairs, carpool and crushing debt. Oh, and just as an awesome bonus — you love wine but wine gives you massive, burpy heartburn. Wine burps are not kick ass. And sitting at that big table during the holidays? Meh. Overrated.

Maybe you did enjoy that big table for a few glorious years, but then you squeezed out a couple of kids and ended up right back at the kids’ table, disheveled and sleep-deprived, wrestling to get your toddlers to eat something — anything!

My kids are older now, so it’s their turn to pine for a seat at the big table. They think they are missing out on scintillating adult conversations. Have at it, kids! I volunteer as tribute. I hereby give up my seat. I’m more than happy going back to the kids’ table for all the holidays. I’m officially regressing, I’m taking back naps and blanket forts, too, BTW. Here’s why sitting at the kids’ table, even if your own annoying kids are still there, is actually the best:

Remember your mortgage and crushing debt? Well, the big people are all bitching about their big mortgages and big debt at the big table right now. Not one word about Jackie Collins. Throw in a detailed description of a mystery rash on cousin Todd’s big ass and that’s the “adult convo” you’re missing out on. Hard pass.

At the kids table, you won’t be able to hear your racist uncle talk about you being a “snowflake” or “Hillary’s emails.” If your uncle has a booming voice, go ahead and stuff two wine corks in your ears. Your tiny table mates will think you’re hilarious!

Little kids are such truth tellers. Get the real dirt from eight-year-old McKenna on why Uncle Burt and Aunt Linda came in separate cars. Did someone sleep on the couch last night? Interesting. McKenna is very wise. Also, cousin Karen’s boobs do look suspiciously larger and according to McKenna, Karen just came back from her “special vacation,” but that’s none of my business. Yes, the kids’ table is where the real tea party is. Please, do go on, McKenna! *sips tea (okay, wine) out of a Spongebob cup*

No one is monitoring your drinking at the kids’ table. Top off that Spongebob cup as many times as you see fit. What the hell, go get yourself a no-spill lid and a straw decorated with tiny turkeys all over it. Festive as fuck.

Compliment little Riley on her colorful, construction paper headdress then ask her to Google “cultural appropriation” on that fancy ass phone of hers. And why does a six-year-old have a nicer phone than you? Spoiled little shit. Share your vast knowledge with an in-depth discussion about the fact that Daniel Tiger is actually a character from your favorite childhood show, Mr. Rogers. Break into a slow, warbling rendition of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and maybe cry a little. (Yep, maybe you’re drunk. Maybe lay off that Spongebob cup for a bit. *burp*)

You’ll miss hearing your cousin tell the same story about her prized antique Limoges gravy boat from great-great-grandma, Tilly. No one gives a shit about your gravy boat, Janet! It’s fugly and this lumpy-ass gravy you made is probably haunted because of it. No, thanks.

So your sister ruined the stuffing by trying “something new she saw on Pinterest.” Why is she like this? Betty Crock Pot decided to experiment and put apples in there, and you get to witness your favorite nephew make retching noises, then spit her apple atrocity out. You all laugh at his mom and agree she sucks at cooking and life. Bonding!

Kids never eat anything but rolls so you get to eat all their untouched food without looking like a pig and going back to the spread for thirds. You’ve got your own bite-sized buffet within arms reach! (Just make sure it’s nothing your nephew already spit out.) Put those mini minions to work and get them to loudly whine for more rolls, pronto. A grown-up will jump right up and run over to deliver little Caleb’s twenty-seventh crescent roll. Caleb is your carb connection. Caleb is your Pillsbury crescent smuggler.

When chunking a decorative gourd at someone’s head, your expert aim is much more accurate than these amateurs around you. You’ve got a clear shot of your sister from here. It’s totally okay to throw stuff if you’re at the kid’s table. Go for it.

Everyone at my table agrees that pumpkin pie is gross. These little people are geniuses and have restored my hope for the future.

So yes, obviously I belong at the kids’ table. And just think- years from now, you get to be part of family folklore. “Fun Aunt Rach was always my favorite,” they’ll say. “Remember how she got shit-faced and insisted on sitting at the kid’s table every year…?” Good times.

It’s your legacy. Pull up a tiny chair and embrace it.

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