(Sharing some of what is pretty, happy, funny, and real around here.)
With the airing of the latest season, I've been tumbling back down the delightful Downton rabbit hole. In between new episodes, I've been tiding myself over with past episodes on Amazon prime, and digging for articles and books to learn more about the period. (This one was an enjoyable, fast read and I'm more determined than ever to finish up the beast that is Eliot's Middlemarch.)
As I'm sure fellow Downton fans would agree, one of the most beautiful parts of the show is the sense of order to each day in "the Big Houses." In particular - tea time.
Recently, I took our five year old to a birthday party at a friend's house, and I observed a trend that I've noticed at playdates and friends' houses. As the hostess made her way around the room, offering drinks and cupcakes, one after one the mothers (politely) turned down her offers of refreshments.
It seems that (especially when we're with our children) the mothers of my generation take an almost "on duty" mentality, "I'm on duty and I'll relax once the children are napping or in bed." But what a miserable life that makes for! Part of friendship, part of bonding, is sharing food and drink. Part of learning to enjoy daily life is taking time for nourishing our bodies (and our minds and our souls!).
Thanks to some dear friends and family I've gotten to know along the way, I've learned the importance of offering and accepting hospitality. And I've learned that something as simple as sipping cups of coffee or tea with a friend while watching our children play (and stopping to break up arguments and kiss ouchies, as needed) has the power to calm us both and allow us to have a real conversation. It also has the power to make us both feel civilized - no small feat for mothers of small children.
But I've also started making myself some tea during naptime, using a tea set that we were given as a gift for our wedding (but which I haven't used previously). Something as simple as sipping a warm drink from china...it is a powerful thing.
(We finally got snow!)
And so, I've started this simple afternoon routine. I plop our youngest in her crib and brew a pot of tea. I accept offers of coffee and tea when visiting friends, and I offer when we have friends over. I even use real cups and saucers when fixing the hot chocolate for my post-lunch read aloud time with the girls. And do you know what? It helps. It truly helps to partake in such an old ritual. It helps to remember that we are a part of a civilization, part of a society.
And for a young mother, still figuring out her place in the world, that can be a real comfort.
(On a happy note...we were able to find a babysitter and sneak out post bedtime the other night to see this FANTASTIC film. Sooo many thoughts on this wonderful movie for another day.)
For more of my thoughts on slowing down, hop on over to Nourish Motherhood.