Dear Amy:

I am 24 years old and come from a large, loving and supportive family. I love being around even my most extended relatives. That is, until it's time for an event such as a wedding, bat mitzvah, etc.

I sort of fall between generations age-wise, but instead of sitting with my parents or cousins, I get placed at the kids table.

I love kids, but the dinner conversation can leave me wanting, especially when there are people in town I hardly ever see and would love to talk to. This also means that I don't get any wine with dinner; I'm passed up for the salad or first course; and instead of steak tartare I'm eating mac and cheese.

I know it's sometimes hard for the older generation to accept the fact that I'm growing up, but this really puts a damper on the party for me and makes me feel as if I'm being cast aside.

Do you have a suggestion on how I can bring this up before the next event without hurting anyone's feelings?

- Fed Up at the Kids Table

Dear Fed Up: I can't imagine that you bringing this up would hurt anyone's feelings.

Most likely, you just need to notify (or remind) your family that you're ready to have a good time with the big kids. Being proactive will help you hustle your way into adulthood.

You should contact the host of the next event before it takes place and say, "I have a favor to ask. Could you find a place for me at the grown-ups table? I love being around the kids, but I think it's time to graduate into the big time. I'd really love to eat with and visit with the adults."

If it's a family gathering such as Thanksgiving, you'll make an impression if you find a way to contribute to the proceedings. Lend a hand in the kitchen or help to organize the cleanup. Sometimes getting a host's attention requires "dishpan hands."

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.