Sunday, July 11, 2021

grandma's tea cup collection

 Sunday's, I don't set my alarm.  When I wake up, I wake up.  No to do list is waiting.  And every Sunday when I'm home...I find myself wandering into a little project.  This morning was cleaning teacups.  My grandma Ella had a big collection of teacup.  Grandpa had made her 8 tea cup cabinets to hang on their walls.  Each held 9 teacups.  When she passed my sister and I were gifted her collection.  

At the time, I wasn't having tea parties.  Frilly, fancy teacups weren't really my thing.  As much as I love my grandma, I didn't really want a giant collection of teacups.  I didn't even like pink or fancy dishes.

Of course, growing up, I didn't like broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, or beets either.  Everyday you lose cells and gain new cells.  Every 7 years we become new people.

A few weeks ago, I cleaned out, organized, rebooted and downsized all my dishes, my grandma dishes, good dishes, tea cups everything you would find in a china cabinet.  Which is funny because, I also never wanted a china closet and yet somehow, I had enough good dishes and such to fill a china closet.  90% of which were gifted to me or wandered into my life. 

Over the years, I fell in love with tea parties and vegetables.  A friend of mine endeared me to the art of tea.  Sitting, enjoying a cup of tea during a work pause or after work satisfaction.  Maybe I learned to love tea parties by reading about Wabi Sabi, or going to Iona, or from my aunt Darlean.  Or maybe I've always be destined to love tea parties.  I'm a slow bloomer. 

Like the dishes I didn't buy, tea parties wandered into my life.  I didn't search them out, and yet they found me anyway.

This morning, as I was washing my tea cup collection.  (My own collection whittled down to 9 tea cups with saucers.)  I was wondering.  As many tea cups as my grandma had did she ever have tea?  Did she use her tea cups as tea cups?  I never saw her have tea.  And yet, as much as she like collecting tea cups, I can't remember one time her using those tea cups.  Maybe she used them when I wasn't there.  My hunch is, she loved collecting tea cups and making cookies, pies and the most amazing sticky pecan rolls.  But the actual tea party...I don't know.

Now I find myself falling in love with tea parties, tiny bites.   Moments you savor slowly, absorbing the moment as well as the food and tea.  Tea served in a tiny cup feels special.  Deliberate, better?  I'm awake.  Mugs of hot tea go well with books, afghans and afternoons.  Teacups, are used awake-present.

I know my grandma loved her tea collection.  Going to garage sales, on day trips, finding a teacup calling her name.  Having the means to buy something beautiful just for the sake of beauty- was a gift to her.  She grew up very poor.  Her china closet was more than just dishes.  

I understood why she loved teacups.  This morning as I was washing each tiny plate, little cup, I was present. I was so present.  This is what a tea party means to me.  Savoring a moment.  Being fully present and tasting life.  Pausing from my own life to slow down, slow way down and simply sip, or taste a bite a tasty bite.  Tea parties, even tea for one, when served on tiny plates and little teacups with a special treat...makes me... happy. 

With a tiny tea cup you take tiny sips.  You hold your posture a little straighter.  The table set just so.  It's a tiny moment in life. It is special.  Tea parties are special moments.

Thank you, grandma, for my tea collection that took a long time to be appreciated.

If you have a teacup collection.  Dust them off.  Wash them.  Take them out of the cupboard.  Brew a bit of tea.  Make a tiny treat.  Sit up straight, breathe slow and deep - satisfying breaths.  Invite a friend over.  Tea parties don't have to be fancy.  Little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches do just fine.


I have an update to this tea party... Yesterday, my mom and I got into a conversation about sewing machines and tea parties.  I gave away my sewing machine this summer.  On paper, I should love to sew. My mom is an amazing seamstress, so is my step mom. I'm not. I'd rather be doing pretty much anything but sewing.  To be fair, I love to sew straight lines, go buy material and fantasize about all the things I could create...but that's as far as it goes.  I was telling my mom I was loving tea parties.  She told me something I don't think I realized.  Denise you have always loved tea parties.  She would know, she is my mom.  Thinking about it, I can't imagine a time that I would turn away a tea party.

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