The week before Thanksgiving. The week before packing and going and coming and travel. To-do list a mile long and the third day sore throat begging me to just curl up on the couch with tea and a book. But the list of “must do’s” is too long.
“It’s ok.” I tell myself. “It’s almost rest time. Then it will be quiet and I can tackle my list with tea in hand.. in quiet.” Have I mentioned how I was looking forward to the quiet? Worshipping it, maybe?
“Mommy? What are you doing?” (My inward sigh of selfishness trying to escape.)
“I’m making tea, hon. Mommy’s tired and tea might help.” I see the hopeful glint in her eyes and my own hope of time to myself begins to fade. “Mommy? Can I help you? Can I help you make the tea?”
“Sure, Lucy. You can help.” I manage a small smile and notice it’s exactly 6 minutes before alleged rest time. And little sister is already half way to dream land. I consider making it a quick activity and calculate that I could still be in my aforementioned spot in about 15 minutes. NO, I tell myself. Take the time. Waste the time. Thankfully, I had this post come through my email earlier today, helping me to snap out of my SELF.
She says she’s FOUR now. And four-year olds are big enough to have REAL tea. Not sweet tea, but warm tea.
I stifle a smile at the last time she asked repeatedly for hot chocolate with marshmallows. We made it. She took two sips. She wanted to save it for later. So we did.
I smile and get down two little china tea cups and saucers.
“Oooh. Real dishes? Fancy!” She breathes in delight. She starts schooling me on how to hold my pinky just right and how I should politely ask “for a spot of tea.” (This girl never ceases to amaze me.)
We wait for the boil and get out the sugar bowl, saucer and spoon. I teach her the proper steeping time. It steeps and we watch. I put a cube of ice in hers and wait for the melt. She tastes, and I wait for, “Umm.. you can have it mommy.” But it doesn’t come. She likes it!
And so we set up a little tea party with treats and our cups and our saucers and our napkins in laps. And we sit and we drink. And she blossoms a little. She suddenly remembers what she learned that day. (Interesting, because just an hour beforehand– “I don’t KNOW Mommy. I don’t remember what we did in school today!!!” Funny how a little bit of tea brings it out. More accurately, a little bit of time.
And then she says it, “Mommy, thank you for sharing your tea time with me. We should do this more often.” (Yes, she really speaks like that. Four-going on 24.)
She appreciates the little touches and they are not lost on her. So why am I so stingy in giving them sometimes? I want to be productive. I want to spend my time wisely.
And there’s time for all that.
But what time is spent wiser than on these precious gifts??? Where is the sense is saving everything until tomorrow? Why wait until our children are at a particular (allegedly perfect) age to have a certain experience with them?
Why should we wait until a special day to break out the nice dishes? Use them. It’s OKAY to use a good plate for a frozen waffle.
Good dishes are good because they are used to serve love, not because we save them for company.
We should not save the best for everyone living outside of our four walls. We should give them the best of our talents. The best of our time. The best of ourselves.