One of my fondest memories of my daughter growing up relates to something we still do to this day. You see, when she was 10, 2 momentous things happened in her life. She was accepted into a school for the arts and just 5 days before she was due to start there, we were in a serious car accident. I was injured the most and had to be off work doing physiotherapy and other forms of rehab for a couple years. It turns out that my daughter was injured more than I initially realized – she was so concerned about me that she was hiding some of the symptoms.
Flickr, Vi Null
The poor thing was so excited about her new adventure and yet, in pain and worried about me at the same time and wouldn’t open up about any of it. I needed to find a way to get her talking – first of all, I simply needed to know what her injuries were so that I could get her the proper medical treatment and then of course, I just wanted to know so I could support her emotionally. So, when she would arrive home from school, I would have the dining room table set up with some kind of a yummy snack. I never told her that I wanted to talk with her – I merely said that I knew she was hungry every day when she came home from school and that she needed a place to work on her homework. She never liked doing it alone at her desk in her bedroom so I would sit there at the table with her and work on something while she did her assignments. A bonus was that I was right there if she needed any help.
Flickr, Eduard Saez i Coll
One day, I remembered the little tea parties we would have with her dolls and stuffed animals when she was younger, so snack time evolved into tea time. I would set the table with the prettiest china teapot and cups, “fancy” little snacks like tea sandwiches cut into cute shapes, cloth napkins, a couple of flowers (even fake ones!) – in winter, I even lit candles! Snack/homework time had been a hit in itself but tea time was positively magical.
Flickr, Sherry’s Rose Cottage
You should have seen her face the first time she walked in and saw the tea table all set up! There was actually an audible little gasp, then a huge smile, and a squeal of delight. That was all it took. Tea time was now a regularly scheduled activity in our days. It wasn’t just the atmosphere that seemed enchanted though. The whole event caused an amazing magical transformation for my sweet girl. As we sat there, drinking tea and eating our goodies, we’d begin to chit chat. Whereas prior to this a question like “So, what did you do at school today?” would get the response, “Nothing,” now, she was full of stories of her teachers, her classes, and her friends. She opened up about her worries, she told me about her injuries, we shared our feelings. What’s more, she didn’t even dread homework time anymore! I didn’t have to push or nag or ask her a million questions – the atmosphere itself did that for me and she would just start talking!
Flickr, Sherry’s Rose Cottage
My daughter is now 23 and we still have tea time. It’s not an every day event anymore as she’s away at university most of the year but when she’s home, we head off to a small town nearby to go to our favourite little tea room. We have lunch and finish it off with their cream tea – tea with scones, jam, and Devonshire cream. Yum! Just as tea time did when she was a kid, it still gets us chatting. We talk about what we’ve been up to lately, what’s been making us happy, what’s been making us upset, we work through problems together, we share inside jokes, we laugh, we reconnect. And one day, I’m pretty sure we’ll be sharing tea time with her children too.
This is Day 3 of a 31 day series. If you missed the first couple posts, follow this link to get all caught up: http://cynchronicity.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/31-days-of-family-fun-the-basics/
There are a whopping 715 other participants doing the 31 days series on a HUGE variety of topics. Check out the other participants here: http://www.thenester.com/2011/09/31-days-participants.html