Friday, December 12, 2008

Tea Parties

The other day I talked about collections and didn't even mention my elephant and monkey collections. But we'll save that for another day (or when you visit my home and notice them all). My best friend used to collect teapots. I brought her one back from England on my first trip over, and I even gave her one from my mother's collection. They sit atop her kitchen cabinets and make quite the display. When was the last time you really looked at a teapot? They're truly lovely, aren't they?Growing up my mother never had tea sets or dolls and to this day she collects both. Trying to recapture those moments missed in childhood. There are dolls everywhere in her house, including 2 HUGE glass-fronted cabinets. And she's also got one filled with miniature tea sets, with a few real cups & saucers nestled among all those teensy sets. Children love to come to my mother's house until they realize these aren't toys. I've got 2 cups and saucers given to me by my mother, passed down from my father's mother. They're from 2 sets of china, not a matching set, but just the loveliest little things ever. Not sure how Mom wound up with them, but she wanted me to have them. They're so delicate, so unlike my mother or myself. We're loud and rowdy gals, not the sort to sip tea.
But my mother throws the best tea parties for children you've ever witnessed. Everytime my son and his new wife vist, bringing her little girls (ages 3 & 4), my mother pulls out a tea set. She used to do the same thing with my son when he was little. Of course she poured him Pepsi, which he loved, instead of tea, but hey, a party is a party!
Thanksgiving night she put the girls at a table for two, which is actually an antique booth from an old drugstore where food was once served. Their teapot contained her homemade lemonade, which they wouldn't drink at dinner but loved in those miniature cups. Go figure. And their snacks were Cheetos and pecans. Again, not what you'd imagine at your tea party I'd bet.
Last Sunday when we visited their home for lunch the girls ran to greet my mother, all smiles and squeals, and the first words out of their mouths were "you throw the best tea parties". And they're right. She does.

A couple of years ago I visited a friend's home for a stamp club meeting and she had this fabulous, huge floral arrangement sitting on the kitchen counter where I sat as she served me a cup of coffee in what I think was a china cup and saucer . I told her afterward I'd felt like a Princess, sipping my coffee next to that bouquet. At home I rarely have fresh flowers and my coffee is sipped from a Starbucks stainless steel travel mug that keeps my coffee hot for 3 hours. China cups and saucers are not a part of my everyday life.
I thought about asking my Mom to give me a tea set for Christmas so I could entertain those little girls when they visit my house, but I decided I can't compete with her. She's the tea party Queen and shall remain so forever. I can actually remember when she'd fix tea parties for my sister and myself as children, and she'd always join us, sipping from those tiny cups. Moms are something special, aren't they?

I'm on the lookout now for a Christmas tea set for my mother. No doubt when we use it we'll be playing Dominoes and sipping Mt Dew and Pepsi, but we'll have a tea party this Christmas for sure. Here's hoping you have a special moment with your own mother this year, or that you'll start a new tradition with a daughter-in-law or granddaughter, or maybe just your best friend.

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