"Dylan! Come over here and sit down with everyone".
There went the relaxing family BBQ. What the heck was going on? In an I-am-the-mom-and-you-shall-obey-me voice, I demanded to know what his problem was. He looked up at me with big tear-filled eyes and the most heartbreaking, mournful look ever and said, "Mom, I just can't watch them eat the animals."
Well, shit. How does a mom respond to that??
So many things went through my head at once, with well, neither do I! being at the top of the list. Quickly followed by the anxiety ridden but how will he ever get along in the world? combined with practice what we preach... tolerance and compassion...
What would you have done? I totally understand what he means.... for the past 3 years, we've sworn off family time in which a sacrificial bird adorns the table (yes, I mean American Thanksgiving). I can't deal with eating at a table with a whole, dead bird's legs and body being fought over (and yes, I am a hypocrite because meat that doesn't look like an animal bothers me less). Maybe I've taught him this.
On the other hand, I'd have to go back out out and deal with my supportive but defensive non-veg family. The in your face demonstration that veganism impacts family negatively. The innuendo that what they were doing was bad. A literal reminder that veganism separates us.
In the end, I let him sit alone. I acknowledged his feelings, validated them, encouraged him to join us, but it wasn't gonna happen, and I wasn't going to force him. I, as gently as possible, explained to my family that he wasn't comfortable eating with meat on the table. And yes, it made them a little uncomfortable. And yes, it opened up a massive discussion about the issue. But I feel good about my decision, because as any parent knows, it's all about what's best for our kids and supporting their reasonable choices.
I have no stinking idea if I made the "right" call! So again, I ask - what would you have done?
Doesn't our non-dead dinner look delish?
(Pictured above: Bell pepper, portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and grilled pineapple with red onion. YUM!)