The Family Seating Chart

Wednesday July 20, 2011

Who sits where in your family—in the car, at the dinner table, at church? Does it vary, or do your family members take their “usual” seats every time you sit down?

I hadn’t thought too much about this until one day all six of us slipped into a row at church, and my husband said, “Put Benjamin on the other side of you. I want to sit by you.”

When I asked my husband about it after church, he said, “Well, I do want to sit by you. The boys will be fine if two sit next to me and two sit next to you.” I smiled. It was sweet that he wanted to sit by me, and I probably should have paid more attention to the message behind that, at the time. It’s too easy to be pulled in four directions by your kids and neglect other things.

But from then on when we all sat together, the youngest would sit on my left with an older brother hemming him in on the other side, and the squirmiest would sit next to my husband, flanked with yet another brother. And there we two were, smack dab in the middle—together. No matter how many are with us to this day, we still sit in the middle, together. It’s nice.

When all six of us were in the van, there was no lobbying or jostling for seats. Each boy had his place, and since it was always that way there really weren’t any complaints. It was when Mom took the four boys alone that the bargaining began.

“Shotgun!” they’d call. “You can’t call ‘shotgun’ until you’re in sight of the van,” another would answer. And on it would go. I remember a period when I got vinyl cling dots for the windshield. Each boy had a different color “dot,” and we’d use those to keep track of whose “turn” it was. (The youngest said to me, “That was never fair because no matter what, I was always stuck in the carseat or booster seat…”)

It all shuffled again when the oldest began driving us to school, because Mom had to be in the front seat so the boys were relegated back to their regular places.

And the dinner table? That seating chart just kind of gradually evolved, but it did change, surprisingly, when the oldest went off to college. His nine-year-old brother decided he would take Jonathan’s place at the table—just because. And that’s still where he sits.

I don’t know how important this all is…it just kind of evolved in our family, as I imagine it does in most. What I love most about it is that my husband wanted me next to him, and he let me—and the boys—know. I’m happy there, smack dab in the middle, next to him. Even when there are no boys to surround us, it’s still my favorite place to be.

What about you? Do you have a family seating chart of sorts?
Does it change? Is that ever a source of conflict?
(Any suggestions for dealing with that?)


Unknown said...

we have "assigned" seats at the table - just kind-of evolved and seats in our living room as well. chris has his seat in the recliner and i get a certain corner of the couch. if a child sits in one of those and we come along, they get the boot! and my kids don't even sit with us at church anymore - youth area. always just chris and me!

Jean Wise said...

Meat post. We too had assigned seating especially in the car. less fights that way.

Angela said...

We have assigned seats, but we don't have a large family table. My five boys sit at the curved bar that separates the kitchen from the den, and the grown-ups sit at a small, round table nearby. It's cozy and conducive to conversation (not to mention convenient to serve plates straight from the kitchen). The two oldest separate the others in this order: 3, 1, 4, 2, 5. I have found the least chaotic seating arrangement is to separate 4 & 5. It works for us.:)

Karen said...

Our kids always took turns riding shotgun, 1 week at a time. And yes, I understand about sitting next to your husband-I always have, too. Added benefit: It was one less thing to adjust to when they all grew up and left home.
Thanks so much for your visit. blessings, k

Anonymous said...

So sweet of your husband:) We have assigned seats too, me closest to the stove:), the littlest the farthest from the wall for when he used to throw food:) It works.

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