Seat Wars

by admin on November 16, 2010

It’s that time of the year when Thanksgiving Day kicks off the start of the Holiday Dining Seating Wars.  Who gets to sit where?  Readers, how does your family handle seating large numbers for the meal?

I humbly submit this story about my stepmother (let’s call her Jane). Jane and my father married when I was a pre-teen and she has always treated me OK, but she always treated her own two children as a better than my sister or myself. When I was younger I took great offense to this and it hurt me deeply, it bothered my sister to the point that she stopped visiting my dad and stepmom.  (My sister lived with my mother and I lived with my father and stepmother). Now that I am older myself and have a child of my own I can kind of understand why Jane held her own children in higher esteem, I am not saying she was right to act as she did, but I understand it.

Flash forward to this past Father’s Day, my stepmother calls and invites myself and my girlfriend , my sister,  my two step siblings, the father of my stepmother’s deceased 1st husband, and my stepmother’s mother to dinner to celebrate Father’s Day with them. I accept the invitation and am looking forward to the evening.

When the day arrives we get there and my dad and stepmother make a big production about giving my stepbrother who has one child and another on the way a Father’s Day present, even so much as indicating that the present was enough cash for my stepbrother to buy a certain power tool he’d been lusting after. Now I thought it odd that they deliberately gave him a gift for Father’s Day in front of me but didn’t even have a card for me, after all I was a father too, but it didn’t bother me that much really, I chalked it up to him having a child on the way. I had brought a gift for my father and gave it to him, and a card for my stepbrother as well.

When it came time for dinner, served buffet style we began getting our food when Jane told us that there were not quite enough seats at the dining room table. This was the norm at her house, for some reason she never has quite enough seating and what usually happens is that my parents’ generation and their parents ate at the dining room table and my generation, and our children ate in the basement.  However this time was different, it wasn’t the entire family (I have a large extended family), and I knew that at Christmas and Thanksgiving there were frequently more people at the table then were at this gathering. Jane had put out enough seats for everyone but three.   My stepbrother, father and stepgrandfather (is that the right term?) were given priority seating, and my sister, myself and my girlfriend were basically given the cold shoulder and told there was room on the back deck or in the basement. My stepsister opted not to sit at the table and join us on the back deck, decent of her and quite frankly shocking considering my sister and she do not get along in any way shape or form.

I can’t help feeling hurt by this deliberate snub on the part of my stepmother, she could easily have rearranged the seating so that three more people could have sat at the table, or at least brought another table in to fit more people in, after all there was a table with chairs not being used in the kitchen. I haven’t confronted them about the issue, but I have decided that I won’t be visiting them often for family gatherings, the dining in separate rooms always struck me as odd, but this time she went too far and deliberately alienated my sister, myself and my girlfriend.   1110-10

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