This is the last post in a week long series titled The Tea Party. This series was a collaboration between Non-Chef and Non-Baker. Non-Baker.com is a food blog by my lovely sister, Anna Grace. Please, visit her site! Her yellow cake is honestly one of my favorite deserts now after this tea party. And she's one of my favorite people and favorite writers. You won't be disappointed. The tea party is over. The leaf has been taken out of the table, and the standard lace over green tablecloth has been returned to its rightful place. The decorations have been taken down. The girls are playing the Headbands game on somebody's phone in the living room. Anna and I are washing grandma's delicate tea things in the kitchen.
White tea plates and clear glass tea cups are carefully stacked in the dishwasher.
The platters, each with it's own unique story, are gently washed and put back into their cupboards.
The one that carried the egg salad sandwiches and the one that bore the custards were my favorite.
The tea set needs to be completely dry before it is stored. Who knows the next time it will be used. When was the last time it was used? Maybe long before I was born. Not many people are making time for tea parties these days.
I hold a degree in English literature, and I did not shy away from any of the English major stereotypes. Most of my college studying was essentially me reading a novel very closely over a cup of tea or coffee. Or gathering with other people who liked to talk about novels and writing over cups of tea or coffee. Lots of tea and coffee and words.
But, I have never been to a tea party before. Actual tea cups, an actual tea set. We brewed the tea in the teapot. We spooned in sugar as desired. An array of delicate sandwiches and lovely desserts. Flowers were everywhere.
The tea party wasn't perfect, but it was significant.
There are a few things that I have fond myself reflecting on as I wrote about this event this week. Firstly, the portion sizes.
Small cups and small plates meant we collectively indulged on less, but it certainly didn't feel that way!
We only used one pot of tea.
I went to the party with two small containers of lemonaid believing we would run out. It was 100+ degrees outside. We filled the pitcher twice, but I still went home with one and a half containers of lemonaid.
For 10 people, we only ate a half a loaf of bread. That's not even a full sandwich each.
I know we had plenty of leftover dessert, because we enjoyed it again at the next family gathering. At least a half of all the desserts were left.
Yes, we indulged. We partied. But it wasn't overdone.
The other thing I realized as I chose pictures: we truly made memories at this tea party. You can just see it in the girls' faces. Actually, you can see it in all our faces! The tea party was surprisingly significant.
I was busy bustling around, because when I wasn't preparing some food or taking pictures, I was taking care of the baby. But when he finally dozed off, and I sat down and just enjoyed myself sans camera, I realized how precious that moment of coming together really was. I'm glad I sat and just enjoyed for a bit, because that was the best part.
I can't wait to do it again sometime.
When grandma started talking about moving, one of the first things she started fussing over was the collection of copper kettles. She finally decided that each of the eleven copper kettles would be matched with the eleven branches that make up our family tree, meaning every family gets a copper kettle.
I don't think the copper kettles mean nearly as much to any of us as they do to grandma. Some of my relatives are probably rolling their eyes right now at the thought of the copper kettle that is about to be shipped to them. I brought mine home with me the other day and wondered what on Earth I would do with it. I finally plopped it on top of a bookshelf because there was a space there, not really knowing what else to do with it.
But I've started looking at that copper teapot a little differently this week as it stands guard over my Norton Anthologies, my Bible, and my other favorite books.
Has anyone ever used it? Should I try and use it?
I caught myself imagining if someday I would take the kettle off the shelf and pull out those tiny white teacups and saucers that grandma gave me as a wedding gift, all mismatched whites like I specifically asked for, and replicate a special tea party with some other important women I love. I have a long list of people I would invite.
It's not at all about the things or even the place or the table. It doesn't have to be perfect looking or tasting.
This tea party is significant because it brought together women, and women-in-training, who have dedicated decades to investing time and love in each other, in me.
There is power in matching words of gratitude with the good in your life.
That's why I want to speak a bit about these exceptional women and their adorable girls. They just happen to be related to me, and it's very special. Thank you all for attending a party with me! I am so thankful to be surrounded by the kind of women who make time on a whim for a tea party just because.
Maybe we'll even let the boys come next time, if they promise to use their manners. ;)