New faces at the kids’ table

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I am proud – if a bit startled – to report that my younger cousin brought her own baby to Thanksgiving dinner this year.
This is startling to me because my cousin herself is 4 years old.
Well, not really, but in my mind she will always be 4 – the age when we could trick her into saying “I’m smart!” which cracked us up because she couldn’t say her ‘sm” combination correctly and it came out an “f” instead. (I’ll leave you to figure out that particular brand of hysterical childhood humor).
She is 4 because I am 15. That’s how it works.
Timeless. No matter how reality might beg to differ – I believe we all have ages we remain forever in our hearts if not our physique.
She is 4, I’m 15 and her older sister who is also my best friend is, at a mere six months older, already 16 (which galls me to no end because she can drive already and I can’t).
Despite my deep seated denial, the “baby girl” is a mommy herself. This is unfathomable because it seems like just yesterday we were watching her carry around a naked baby doll that she once misplaced for a whole winter when she left it in an old camper.
Fortunately, I have every reason to believe that her parenting skills have improved since then.
Baby Days. It was a big year for babies in the family. Another cousin – who in my mind is always approximately 6 years old and perpetually trying to play with us, to our everlasting horror – recently became a parent as well.
It is this cousin who pointed out, shortly after his wedding, that the “kids table” would, from that point on, be populated almost entirely by “old married folks.”
Back in the old days of my childhood (otherwise known as when dinosaurs roamed the earth if you ask my own son), we used to kid around that we would eventually have to add another “kid-kids ‘ table” to the family gatherings.
Yet, when we said that in our early teens, that seemed no more plausible than the arrival of the year 2000 (seemingly still light years away); or that we would someday grow to actually utter aloud statements such as “not while you live under my roof mister!”
A new day. Yet, inexplicably, the dawn of a brand-new “kids ‘ table” has come.
This Thanksgiving we were thrilled to see the babies – to jostle and jiggle them and see who can make one spit up first.
We complimented their beauty, and brilliance and sighed over how “old” we are: even those of us who are all of 25 or so.
We sat our 5 year olds on phone books to better reach the table; and discussed teething and taxes and the high cost of being the grown-ups we never quite thought we would be.
I was impressed, as always, with how well the “baby cousins” (and their spouses) parent. What a truly bountiful blessing new babies bring to a family.
But sometimes, just for one day, I’d still like the original “babies” to be 4, or perhaps 6, and I will be 15, and for just one more afternoon we’ll wonder what happened to that lost baby doll rather than our own lost youth.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt reminds everyone to stop and enjoy this holiday season. She welcomes comments c/o kseabolt@epohi.com or P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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