Children grow so fast. I long for the snuggles of little babes, their dimpled hands in mine as they look up into my face and we sing a song. Those dimpled hands grow bigger as do those little babes. Soon they are young men with calloused hands from climbing trees or doing a hard day's work. They no longer look up at you but rather look down as they give a hug before going off to take a dual credit class at a local college. The days can be long Mommas, I know that to be true, but these years, they fly by. I wanted to slow it all down, make life stand still for a while so my Momma heart could catch up. A few years ago we started a new ritual in our home called "Tea Time".
Around 3pm, several days a week, I gather my crew together, young and old, and we all sit in our comfy spot. Our comfy spot happens to be our sitting area. It is filled with well loved chairs and situated in front of large picture windows that have a view of our woods. The sun filters in and makes it such a welcoming space, no matter the season. There is a large trunk which I adorn with a tablecloth and I put out a tray of snacks (fruit, vegetables, and a special treat like cookies or muffins). Small plates are set in a stack near the tray and once they are put out, I am ready to gather my precious ones.
From the kitchen, the tea kettle sings with anticipation it's happy song. I call the children from wherever they are...
The younger ones are swinging in the back yard, others are building with Legos, my Princess is playing dolls in her room, and my oldest is off with a book. They come from all corners and enter the heart of our home, our kitchen. Each grab a tea cup or mug and their favorite tea/cocoa as I pour hot water into the cups. Sugar, cream, and honey are available to stir in and they bring their steaming mugs to the sitting room and find a spot to get cozy.
I look around at their faces and I thank God silently for each of these blessings. I open with a small prayer of thankfulness and then grab our book off the shelf and begin as the children grab their snack with delight. It doesn't matter what age, I think everyone enjoys being read to. Because we have such an age range (toddlers through teens) there are pauses in our story time. Bathroom breaks, squabbles ("Mom, he is on my side of the cushion."), or just a case of the wiggles, sometimes these things come up and we accommodate them. The point is to build intimacy and unity... not to check off a "to do" list.
When all is said and done, our story time/tea takes about forty five minutes to an hour out of our day and yet it helps bind us together for a lifetime. It makes us stop wherever we are at and encourages us to slow down and come together. We take a pause... one that builds togetherness, one that brings comfort to our bodies and spirit, and one that enriches our mind with wonderful classics from years gone by. This seemingly simple ritual can make all the difference in my day... I so look forward to it, as do my children. What special rituals do you look forward to in your day/week?
Grateful for the gift today,