No matter how old or grizzled I become, I will always be the young one in the eyes of certain family members. I'm not that old, mind you, but to the generation ahead, I am still a kid.
The husband and I got married and started our family at a fairly tender age, (since we were broke and stupid it seemed like the thing to do) and as such we are embarking on "EENS" (Early Empty Nest Syndrome) at an equally young age. As young parents, we had much more energy to handle things like midnight vomiting, candy tantrums, and showdowns with arrogant and inept teachers who decided that older son's method of math was incorrect because they couldn't understand it. As "EENS" submissives, we are allowed to sit back and observe all of these older parents struggling with the same stuff that we have already put in the rearview mirror, but they are doing it at an age when energy levels drop exponentially with every birthday. As we all know, parenting never really ends, it just becomes more complicated. At least I know that I can go out into the public forum and not have to worry about whether my kids are going to demand to be the centre of attention. (I have the husband for that duty now!!) So it was with some genuine excitement that the husband and I prepared for a fancy evening out at a family wedding.
The husband's youngest cousin has been with her young doctor for almost ten years now, so the wedding was a bold punctuation to their relationship. Given that she is the youngest of three daughters and that he is the only son in a traditional Moroccan-Israeli family, we knew that the party would be big, grand and full of family and food!! It was an old-style Jewish wedding with all of the trimmings, including many bridesmaids and ushers, (the dresses are a subject that need to be handled in a separate posting!!) a carving station in the hors d'oeuvres area slicing thick pieces of corned beef, an intensely rude videographer, a "Mazinka" (the traditional dance around the parents of the bride in celebration of finally dispatching the final tax exemption!) and speeches from the head table. I was looking forward to the entire "balagan". I couldn't remember the last time that the husband and I got all dressed up to attend a wedding. Not only that, I couldn't recall the last wedding that I was at that I didn't have to work!! This was strictly pleasure and given that I really like this family, I was ready to dance the night away, even if my feet were killing me. ( An aside--one of the funniest moments of the evening was when the husband's aunt came over to me and told me how her brand new and extremely expensive shoes were destroying her feet. She could barely stand up and was seriously thinking of doing the evening barefoot. Oy, what we women suffer for beauty!!) I never once anticipated what was to follow, given that I am a sufferer of "EENS"!! You see, given the closeness of the family, all of our children were extended invitations. I never gave it much thought because older and younger son are away at their summer employments and could not attend. But, my nephews and nieces are still in town and as such were very excited to attend their very first wedding. My oldest nephew is almost 8, his younger brother is 4 1/2 and the two girls are 5 and 2 1/2!! I love them all to death and in most circumstances, I have absolutely no issues with being with them. They are all lovely and fun-loving, smart and engaging. Kids are kids and these guys were so excited to be at this wedding, dressed to the hilt, and eagerly awaiting the sweet table. (It was all my nephew could think about and why not? It was all most people could think about!) They were really cute, until the husband realized that WE would be sitting with them!! Yup! We were at the kiddie table. It was like a really bad Passover seder! By the time that we were finally seated in the hall, it was well after the kids normal feeding time. Younger nephew wanted bread and butter. There was no butter. Kosher meat meal!! He whimpered for about ten minutes until his mom gave him pita and ketchup. He decided that he had had enough and proceeded to crawl under the table. Older brother followed suit as did older niece. Sisters-in law? Not happy. They took older children to the dance floor. That kept them happy for a while. Younger nephew? Fell asleep under the table on my feet, whilst sucking on my big toe!! That will teach me to wear sandals. Older kids returned to the table for their meal. Wisely, they were served a child's meal consisting of plain pasta, caesar salad (no cheese) and chicken fingers and fries. Of course they wanted our salmon and chicken!! The husband was dying for the chicken fingers and fries. After sampling a bite or two, older children returned to the dance floor. Their mothers had provided each of them with a camera, so they were kept busy for a while, until older niece was jostled by someone and fell flat on her butt. While all of this was occurring, her mother and father were in the bathroom changing younger sister's diaper. Older niece was sad and pouted, but when mom and dad returned, out came the tears. She was bundled up and stretched out onto two chairs and was sound asleep in 5 minutes. Older nephew, seeing that his playmate had crashed, followed suit with strict instructions to his parents to wake him for the sweet table. (He never did see it as they left before it made it's appearance!!) By now, my foot was cramping and the husband and I had only danced half of one song. Gently, I freed my toe, and we made our way to the dance floor. We made it through one chorus, and...... his phone rings!!! It was our boys calling to wish him a Happy Father's Day. He was so happy to be their father at that moment, he eagerly took the call. So there I was, dressed to the nines, and alone on the dance floor. I made my way back to the table to spend time with the life of the party, my 2 1/2 year old niece who talks a blue streak and was loving every minute of the occasion. She was wide awake, excited and felt like a princess. (I know this because she told me so!!) I suppose no matter how old I get, I will never outgrow the kiddie table!!!