Dinner with six kids...well, dinner with this family ...is chaos on the best day. We got together for C2's SIXTEENTH birthday. 16!! AND there was sixteen people there.
We got there first, along with the b-i-l & s-i-l and my niece's weird sister and her family. They seated us and we did the weird do-si-do that happens every.single.time we go out to eat. It's like they (b-i-l and s-i-l) forget how to person. JUST SIT THE EFF DOWN and the rest will figure it out.
The kids arrived just as we got settled. The teens sat to the left of us, at their own table. The baby came and sat with me. (hooray! and not with the grandparents, ha!) with Nephew across from me and Niece to the right of him with her weird sister and family.
So, I have to break this down by person:
C1..the eldest who will be eighteen in three months... announced that he got fired from his fast food job. Like matter of fact, no big deal. His uncle and grandpa was all "Wait, WUT" It turns out that he had been acting like a teenager and the manager had no time for that. So: fair enough. Consequences are good.
Then his dad announces that C1 ALSO got a speeding ticket and hid it from everyone. They got the notification just as they were leaving for dinner about a pending court appearance if he doesn't pay it. Banner day for him.
C2 is the age where he is embarrassed by his loud, large family. I, for one, 100% get it. We are A LOT. Then the wait staff started singing happy birthday somewhere in the restaurant. The boy went pale "Please don't." he says in a quiet desperate voice. It's adorable that he thinks he's getting away quietly.
"How does everyone KNOW?" he asks. "Well, bud, in this family there are no secrets, like ever. We spill all the tea." At first he looked surprised that I knew that phrase, then he just laughed and shook his head. And Yes, we did completely embarrass him by singing, clapping, pounding the table, and videoing the whole thing. Plus social media posts.
Sweet Baby sat with me. There was one of those computer kiosk things on the table where you can order or pay or play games and someone turned on games for him. He asked for help, so we looked through the apps and he choose a comic book app. We scrolled through it but he was uninterested, rightfully so. We exited out of it then chose something else. Then he got his Three Year Old on because we weren't finding what he was wanting. He said something like DON'T and showed a little attitude. "Oh, no sir" I said "We're not having that. You CAN say "No thank you." He quietly said no thank you and we moved onto something else. He was playing a game and I was talking to Nephew when he started getting frustrated again. "Whoa, wait buddy." and I fixed what I thought was wrong. He said something and I didn't hear him. "What did you say? I'm sorry but I didn't hear you."
With a glint of sarcasm in his eyes and a devil smile "No.Thank.You." he says.
He's definitely Nephew's son. Nearly four years old and has picked up the art of sarcasm.
Niece's sister is just an odd duck. She comes in and out of our lives very randomly. In fact, she has had a whole baby since we last saw her. The baby is about a year old now and thinks I'm the funniest person she has ever met. I kept playing I'm-gonna-get-you by pretending my hand was a spider and she was cracking up laughing. After dinner, she toddled across the banquet bench and hugged me then stayed there. I have that invisible sign that only babies and kids can see that says "She's cool, she'll keep you safe."
Because what I didn't realize is that while we were playing, was that the sister was drinking. Her husband/person just sat silently at the end of the table. I don't even know his name, now that I think about it. Not that I blame him. I've sat through plenty of family dinners with not much to say.
Like this story wasn't confusing enough, the next character is Jackson. He is Niece's brother and is the same age as C1. It's a long story but know that Niece and her sister have had custody of him for the last four years. He became another nephew in the family. Having been raised literally feral, he's always been withdrawn. Last night he was, dare-I-say, personable. It was amazing to see but added just another level of weird to evening.
I love spending time with Nephew's wife because we are both outsiders. You can usually count on the one of the first sentences of any conversation containing "OMG, can you believe..." I liken it to a mini-therapy session as we both process what it's like to have the b-i-l in our lives. I know that I have it difficult but at least he's not my father-in-law.
The rest of the kids mostly stayed at their table and were teenagers; phones out, barely audible, occasional eye-contact. The boy triplets are at that awkward, don't know how to communicate yet on an adult level but really want to stage. They went from being preteens to nearly the same size of their brothers in a minute. Girl triplet remains the same, quiet sweet girl who is happiest just kicking it with her brothers.
Kevin's parents did not attend this dinner. She's not able to leave the house much anymore and is no longer really eating. I think the day of them attending these kind of events has come to pass and I say that with relief. It's crazypants enough without adding two elderly folks into the mix.
So, when you think "I'd love to be a part of a big family" read this again. While it can be wonderful, nine times out of ten: it's chaos.