As a child my father made and brought my mother a cup of tea to her bedside every morning. Tea was the mainstay of family food gatherings and I can picture my mother's teapots and delicious date and walnut or almond cake that always went with them in our light filled living room.
Growing up, I relished the tea my Grandmother made for me. For a long time, I could not work out why it always tasted so special...
I tried to squeeze the teabag just right, tried to add the same amount of milk and use a fine china cup. I have attempted to recreate it and have come to the conclusion that it was not the ingredients but the act of her making it for me, sprinkled with the special love and care that a grandma gives to her grandchild, that made it taste so delicious.
When my husband was very ill, I made gallons of tea for him. The first cup he felt well enough to make for me was a very sweet drink and it wasn't because of the sugar! In my parents' home the teapot came out of the cupboard for all manner of reasons. We celebrated milestones with cups of tea and comforted mourners with copious amounts.When Someone had a shock or heard grave news. The kettle went on and everyone drank tea.
|My birthday cake in 2012 baked by Glynis|
This weekend has been a tea-fest in my neighborhood! My darling friend and college room mate came for the weekend and I made tea for her and all the other Brits who came to visit on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday morning I toasted a half British newborn with a cup of tea and in the afternoon I made tea for a dear friend whose sister had just died and one of her cousins. They are South African but trusted the Brit with the teabags. I knew what they meant when they said they wanted it strong and milky and I hope I sprinkled those cups with love and comfort too.
Living in the USA, having a cup of tea has taken on added meaning. It takes me back to my roots, to my family and to familiarity.
My American friends have humored me. They have agreed to taste strong English tea WITH milk and many of them have gone out and bought English tea to keep for me when I come to visit. They may never have come across it before, tasted or purchased it but because it was important to me, it became important to them.
This thoughtful, small gesture has touched me deeply. The message it gives is clear. We care about you and want to you to be comfortable in our home. These friends are my family in America.
And really that is what I have learned about making and giving someone a cup of tea. It is not about the tea itself (well actually I am a little picky about the brand!) It is about someone doing for you what YOU need, what gives YOU comfort,what brings you joy.
Tea for me is a hug in a cup!
It is also about YOU knowing what your loved ones and your friends need to bring THEM comfort and then giving it to them the way they like it most. It is about asking the questions,
What is their piece of comfort?
What is a simple pleasure they will enjoy?
What is the equivalent of their
'cup of tea' ?
I realize it may not be English tea. It may be green, herbal tea, or even coffee (shock ,horror), made just the way they like it.
It may be a phone call, a beer, a certain kind of chocolate, a back massage, a particular brand of cookie (biscuit), a walk in the woods, a bike ride, a hug, a bubble bath or fresh flowers.
But what I know for sure, is that if YOU really want to bring comfort or happiness to someone, you need to know what it is that works for THEM. What small but poignant action will bring them comfort, memories or joy.
So how do you do that?
It's really like making a perfect cup of tea.
It takes a little time and practice. you need to find out what is important to THEM and what will nurture them. Then when you know, practice giving them what they need, sprinkle it with love and repeat often. You may like to try it as well.
You may just find you like it too!
How do you like your tea or what is your equivalent of a "hug in a cup"? Please tell me about a time someone did something for you that evoked your childhood or a feeling of comfort.
Looking forward to hearing your stories.
Anyone for a cuppa? The kettle's on!
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