In the last few months, all things British seems to be a central focus of my daughter’s imagination. She is enamored by the Royals, especially their recent arrival, Prince George, and when he made his debut, she said, “I am going to visit him, Momma.” I laughed. Her penchant for all things British took on a new life as she insisted that we all talk with a British accent. My accent does not meet her barometer because I sound like a Texan with an Indian accent. She always laughs and says,”Um, Momma, that is not British at all.”
Her Daddy, on the other hand, can channel his best British and they both linger over conversations and pretend to have tea at home. Instead of pretending to have tea, we decided to take her to a quaint tea room for her birthday celebration. She picked out a hat and posed with her Daddy. I love how their hands are clasped together and their smiles not only signify their bond, but my husband’s willingness to play along and act silly with her.
I look at this picture of my Mom and the joy of watching them both together brings me to tears. We were lucky that she could join in our tea time celebration. It is a tradition that her “Nani” always wishes her Happy Birthday in person. They both giggled over her hat. I know the warm brown color of tea always takes my mom back to memories of her life with my father. They started their days with tea every morning. My father spent at least twenty minutes standing at the stove brewing his special form of tea. I watched him morning after morning preparing tea and wondered if this exercise served as a meditation for him.
As the years swivel from one number to the next, I must confess that my silliness dissolves a little. My daughter thought that if I donned a hat too it would be so much fun. I played along and I am so glad that I did. Her smile in this picture is one I want to hold on to forever.
Over the weekend, I contemplated the simplicity of this tea celebration. It was just the four of us. We laughed together. My mom’s eyes filled with wonder with the details of the tea cups and the ornate design in the tea room. My husband marveled at the taste of the peach caramel tea which seem interesting. He is not a coffee or tea drinker so his open mind in trying the tea and liking it made an impression. My daughter took it all in: the tea, the ambiance, the hats, and the silliness of pretending that she lived in England for one afternoon.
These two hours filled my soul. Glints of my past came through as I watched my mother and remembered tea at home with my father. I saw glimmers of the future in my daughter and wondered if years down the road she would remember this birthday tea. And in that present moment, I thought about how an afternoon tea could be such a simple place of refuge, celebration, and meditation.