As a young mom I daydreamed about having tea parties with my girls. I don't remember playing tea party when I was growing up, but it seemed that every picture book we read about a little girl included a tea party with her three closest stuffed animal friends, so I wanted to be ready. Even sit-coms portrayed every girls under the age of seven as a precocious wee one serving up invisible tea and light as air imaginary cookies. So I bought the plastic tea set. And the porcelain one too. I even became enamored with the "tea set for one" that came out around fifteen years ago, and thinking I'd host some women's function for church at some point, I got some of those too. I made the cookies and brewed the tea. If you brew it, they will come, right?
Well, turns out, my kids would rather make a large latte than repeatedly fill a thimble sized tea cup with the stuffed animal friend they don't care about. And they'd rather have handstand walking competitions, or have a dance contest than sip lukewarm tea and chat. The tea cups and sets I have collected fill two entire cabinets and one shelf of another cabinet. They are whimsical, and cute, and currently collecting dust.
In place of fragile, breakable tea cups, we grab for sturdy, wide-mouth mason jars. We fill them with butter coffee or special latte creations, or brew some lovely herbal tea and in the crazy hectic-ness that is our day-to-day, we lose the mason jar filled to the brim with yumminess three or four times before we finish the whole thing. I let my coffee-loving kids drink coffee, and Hannah (our anti-coffee child) throws on her favorite coffee-themed shirt and sips a Chai tea. The irony of her "No Talkie Until After Coffee" shirt contrasted with her dislike of the delightful brew is noted a fresh each day.
We're in the middle of a transition right now, one that has led to some pretty major rearranging. I never just rearrange, I also cull out and contemplate what I want to do with this or that, or when was the last time I really used it. I ask myself who I want to be and what I really need. I have six little, yet growing bigger, people to consider, so I try to figure out what to keep and store and what has passed its prime. I think of the future and set aside our favorite things for the one-day-maybe-someday grandbabies.
I crave simplicity and feel smothered by disorder and chaos. I struggle to strike a balance and teach stewardship to our children in love, helping them to learn to take care of what they have but not turn the created into idols. So, as I was working tonight to move some items around, I looked at my tea cup filled cabinet and realized that in nearly two years in our new home, I haven't had a cup of tea. No one has. At the same time, I realized that I have a couple of boxes of passed down mason jars, which I cherish more than the unused tea sets, sitting in my living room and garage waiting to find a home somewhere on a shelf.
The minimalism movement doesn't say "own nothing", it says "get rid of what distracts you from what you love". I want to live there. Less distractions. Less time spent managing my assets and more enjoying my blessings. So, let the purge begin. No regrets. More time for relationships. More room for joy.
Need a tea cup?