My son lobbed that grenade of a question smack in the middle
of our dining room table at the onset of lovely Sunday dinner. Turned out there were several hidden land mines just waiting to be tripped.
My sister, aka, land mine No. 1, spoke first.
As she passed the peas, she asked if we saw the "hilarious"
skit on TV last night, lambasting "presidential
My parents, staunch supporters of said candidate stiffly
replied, "No." Instead of leaving it at that, my sister pulled it up for
all to see on her iPhone.
The older child appeared to be silently amused at the sight of their normally mild-mannered grandmother pointing her finger, raising her eyebrow and silently fuming.
Much to my chagrin, what followed was an explosive debate on
the ability of both presidential candidates to solve everything from the
current economic crisis to the nuclear showdown brewing in the Middle East—topics
I don't even feel comfortable letting my kids watch on the evening news. And
yet, like watching a macabre dinner theater, my boys couldn't peel their eyes
While my son never received a direct answer to his question,
he at least came away with a better understanding of each party's stance on the
top issues of the 2012 presidential campaign, and, more importantly, he now
knows why I insist on not broaching this topic at the dinner table.
I did worry about their reaction to witnessing their beloved
relatives display their dark sides. The younger of the two asked to be excused as soon
as they were done eating. The older child, however, appeared to be silently
amused at the sight of their normally mild-mannered grandmother pointing her
finger, raising her eyebrow and silently fuming over my sister's refusal to
acknowledge the incumbent's role in her rising prescription costs.
As for me, watching tempers flare over a meal I spent hours
preparing left me with no choice but to demand that a truce be declared before
they could even think about getting
Happily, the promise of homemade chocolate cake was enough
to silence the warring factions.
Tempted as I am to use the incident as a cautionary tale for
my guys, there is something to be said for watching their relatives go after
each other, then somewhat miraculously shelve their differences and return to
their normal, affable selves.
As for our next big family dinner, I plan on starting it with
a gentle reminder to please turn off all cell phones and electronic devices before
we begin, and a stern reminder to leave the political grandstanding at the door.