In the last few months, “All Things British” is a central focus of my daughter’s imagination.
She is enamored by the Royals and especially by their recent arrival, Prince George. When he made his debut, she declared, “I am going to visit him, Momma.”
I laughed it off.
However, her penchant for “our friends across the pond” really took on a new life when she insisted that both my husband and I speak to her with an English accent. My inflection does not meet her barometer because I sound like a Texan with an Indian accent. She always laughs and says, “Um, Momma, that is not British at all.” Her Daddy, on the other hand, can channel his best British accent and they both linger over conversations and play tea time at home.
For her eight birthday, we decided it was time to stop pretending to have tea, and instead take her out for a proper celebration at the English Rose Tea Room , a quaint tea room in Carefree. The ambiance is everything British with pictures of the queen, the royals, and delicate tea cups all across the room.
She picked out a hat and posed with her Daddy. They both used their fingers to clasp their tea cups and the smiles on their face beamed. They acted silly and laughed as they sipped their tea. My daughter thought that if I donned a hat too it would be so much fun. I played along and I am so glad that I did. Her smile in this picture is one I want to hold on to forever.
I contemplated the simplicity of this tea celebration. In the past, I’ve opted for bigger birthday celebrations with her classmates and friends. But this year, she expressed an interest to do something smaller and unique. I learned a lesson with her suggestion. Birthday parties do not have to be elaborate or expensive or dazzle with the best goodie bags.
For this birthday celebration, we laughed together and an added bonus proved to be her grandmother’s presence. My mom’s eyes filled with wonder at the details of the tea cups and the ornate design in the tea room. My husband marveled at the interesting taste of the peach caramel tea. (He is not a coffee or tea drinker so his open mind in trying the tea and liking it made an impression.) Most importantly, my daughter took it all in: the tea, the ambiance, the hats, and the silliness of pretending that she lived in England for one afternoon.
Glints of my past came through as I watched my mother and remembered tea at home with my father. I saw glimmers of the future in my daughter. In the present moment, I thought about how an afternoon tea could be such a simple place of refuge, celebration, and meditation.
This tea time will be one that we will all remember.