I bought the dainty little tea cups at a small yard sale, many years ago, when yard sales held surprising treasures, mysterious keepsakes of someone’s past, perhaps gone now; a part of their life displayed curiously on an old card table. I only know they were an almost give-a-way. Six teacups, in delicious pastels: two pink, two yellow and two green, with matching saucers and delicate flowers intertwined around each. What drew me to these little cups? With three boys in the house, I deliberately stayed away from “delicate.” Between the hockey equipment and the weapons of mass destruction, I tried to keep a small shelf of my keepsakes: a china donkey from my grandmother, a couple of glass birds. My earrings were thrown into a little wooden box on my dresser. Makeup and lotion, a couple of bottles of perfume, were stashed up high on a little shelf in the bathroom. Girl-stuff. It was a world they weren’t too interested in, and neither was I.
I was the third child after two boys and another brother followed, so undoubtedly my parents had some hopes of feminine influence as I arrived into their world. But somewhere along the way I became a Full-Fledged Tom-Boy, sold out to climbing trees, exploring caves and (ew!) handling frogs and worms. I helped my brother with his monster models and spook houses and learned how to really fight, with headlocks and half-nelsons. I tried to spit. Secretly, I found a lot of it gross and a little scary. But I would never let on, worried I would be barred forever from their world, my membership always a little tenuous. My parents, after trying to lure me away with princess costumes and ballerina shoes, finally threw in the towel when I insisted on being a gorilla for Halloween. My hunch is King Kong had something to do with it.
So I’m not sure what made me buy the six teacups so many years ago, but I kept them safe and would occasionally take them out of the cupboard and admire the sweet frailty of each cup and I wrapped them carefully with every move. When my daughter-in-law became pregnant, I mused over the teacups, wondering if they had a purpose after all. But what if my granddaughters were like me? Tea with gorillas?
I’ve addressed this sleeping beauty DNA in other blogs. It’s intriguing to me. I saw it in hyper-drive with the wedding. Every girl loves a bride and Kayla was an exceptional one, with a pure, unspoiled beauty and grace. My granddaughters, Brooklynn and Olive, were the flower-girls and they twirled and pranced in satin and chiffon splendor. Even the toughest young women I’ve met turn soft and misty-eyed when you talk about a wedding.
I can’t remember who thought of the tea-party first. But as I opened the cupboard and lifted the tiny cups from the shelf, Brooklynn’s eyes lit up. She picked yellow, Olive picked green and I chose the pink. Our tea was peach juice and we poured it from an elegant old tea pot I had picked up along the way. We laughed and giggled as we spoke with silly English accents at their Mickey Mouse table with the umbrella over it in my back yard. Ollie had us almost falling out of our seats as she tried to say “delicious” and “delightful”. We drank a lot of peach juice. On the Girly Richter scale, it was up there with my first pedicure which I got with Erin and Brooklynn right before the wedding.
But there was something extra special about the tea party. I guess it’s that same thing that turns soft in a tough young woman’s heart that made me buy those fragile tea cups. Dreams, hopes, the just-maybe’s. Sometimes dreams are like that- frail and mysterious and often nonsensical. God is known to leave them like buried treasure along the byways of life, where people who are really searching may look. And I think He may prefer beat-up card tables or even Mickey Mouse tables to fine dining. Hold fast to your dreams. Take them out and look at them every now and then. ‘Delight yourself in Him, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Even ex-gorillas. More tea? Delightful.