When I was little I used to have tea parties with my stuffed animals around my table in the backyard. I’d dress them up for a special day and carry them carefully down the stairs to their seats outside. I would usually dress a bit frilly, putting on my leggings and a colorful play tutu skirt. My favorite was lime green. I even took the time to brush the knots out of my hair…well, most of them anyway before putting on one of each of my favorite sneakers. Then I’d head to the kitchen to get the special treats ready.
Daddy always kept ginger snap cookies for me and I was allowed to have four a day. But on Tea Party Day everyone got two cookies each on a pretty purple or pink paper plate. I would carefully pour water into the paper cups and tell all my friends that it was Pretend Tea, the best tea in the world. Then I’d sit and have my Pretend Tea and gingersnaps all the while telling my friends about the Fairy King and Queen that would soon come to visit…They always came in the Fall when the leaves were so pretty and they would race each other to visit me.
Sometimes Daddy would come home while I was having my Tea Day and at first he would look tired and annoyed. But then he’d change into his favorite jeans and put on his blue shirt then sit down on the rock by the table. I always had an extra cup of Pretend Tea just in case he stopped by to see us. He would ask me how we were all doing and if we were enjoying our treats. He was always kind to my friends.
We’d sit and chat about the Fairy King and Queen and how excited we all were that the leaves were giving them rides. He would be so tired from a long day at work, I could see it lurking in his eyes, yet he sat there at ease with me, smiling and sipping Pretend Tea.
I always ate more gingersnaps than I was allowed on Tea Party Days because my friends asked me to please have theirs since they were so full of Pretend Tea. Daddy would eat like six of them and I would eat eight including my own two.
We’d walk down by the water and he would talk to me about why the sky was blue and the water was a murky green in places. We’d look for squirrels since they would be kind enough to tell the Fairy King and Queen that I could play tomorrow since Tea Day had ran so late. Squirrels and Fairy’s were the best of friends and always helped each other out.
Dad would clean my table and I would carry my furry friends back upstairs to their shelf. I’d put Sabree, my stuffed tiger kitten on my pillow so she could keep watch over everyone. Then, I’d go downstairs and help Daddy with dinner.
I loved Tea Party Days because if I had them late enough in the afternoon I could always count on my dad showing up for Pretend Tea. Pretend Tea was the best I ever had because my friends and Daddy were gathered round. I only had those special days maybe once a week or less if it was Winter but each one was important to me.
I would do anything to sit with my Dad and have Pretend Tea again. He wasn’t perfect but at Tea Time all that mattered was that he was there. I miss him so very much….