Growing up in my family, a cup of tea was probably the most important thing we shared. For me, our afternoon teas started almost before any of my actual memories do.
When I was not quite four years old, my appendix ruptured and after the surgery, my mother got a call from the nurses in the Pediatric Ward. Oh goodness, Maribeth is not drinking. They’d tried to offer me everything, and I refused.
“Offer her a cup of tea with two sugars and a little milk,” my mother told them. So the nurse did and apparently I perked right up. Yes, I and my tea go back a long way.
All through my youth, we drank tea in the afternoons. When I got home from school, while watching “Dark Shadows”, I would have a cup of tea and a few cookies. I sort of thought everyone did, right?
When I was in 6th grade I moved in with my grandparents, and that’s when the real ritual began. I would go to school each day, and when I came home after grandma’s soap opera was over, we would have our tea, some cookies, and talk. I would tell them all about my day, school, what was happening, and what I thought. And Grandma, Papa, and my Mom, always listened. When my sister was there, she joined us too.
When my grandmother got too old to leave her bed, and we knew her time was drawing near, we gathered our children together and had a tea party. Right there in her bedroom. It was the last time I saw her before she passed.
I continued the tradition of tea, with my Mom, my sister, my cousin, Janet, and my own children. And when my Mom died, my sister had a tea party after her Memorial Service. Complete with beautiful teacups and cookies. Mom would have loved it!
The other day I was watching Pioneer Woman on the Food Channel. Ree and her daughter, Paige were having tea during the show. They had so much fun making up the treats to serve with it too. Eventually, Ree asks her daughter how often she thinks they should do this? And her daughter smiles and says “Every day!”.
And that was when I started to cry. I suddenly missed all those afternoon teas we shared. I missed my Grandma, my Mom, Papa. Those moments, those sweet days have gone by. Aside from my sister, daughter, Mandy, and cousin Janet, the people I shared those days with have gone too.
My love of tea goes on. It’s my link to my past. I’m so very grateful to have it.