The old card table that never got used for card games and the folding chairs that had been patched with duct tape that scratches your back were pulled out so the cobwebs could be cleaned off of them. Covered in plastic instead of cloth, so spills could be easily managed. Styrofoam plates and paper cups so nothing could be broken. Set up near enough to the the adults so there could be help with cutting the turkey, but far enough away that the grown-ups could talk about Important Things ™ without interruption and we could just giggle about fart jokes.
Now I’m at the adult table. We have the hard, wooden seats that make our older backs ache if we sit in them too long. We get to have the beautiful, festive tablecloth, but there are faint stains that won’t wash out on it from spills of years past. We get to use the real dishes and and glasses, but you can see the occasional chip in the dishes and at least one glass is broken each year. Our adult conversation still has fart jokes, but now we also have to tiptoe around uncomfortable subjects, and sometimes address them head-on.
The kiddie table gives you a sense of security. When we’re there, nothing sticks or stains. Nothing can hurt us. There’s nothing but laughter.
At the adult table, we find out that our mistakes can have long-term consequences. That things can be broken, but they can still serve a purpose. That even in the midst of discomfort, there can still be humor.
The kiddie table can feel like it provides safety. At some point we move from that secure feeling to needing to be the ones providing that security, regardless of our feelings. In the midst of the cold reality, we must provide that refuge for those more vulnerable.
But I believe there will come a day when we will all gather at one table with our Father and we will not only feel safe, but we will be safe.
And on that day, all of his children will give thanks.
Do you have any fond memories of the kid’s table from holidays past?