Soapy water ran over the plastic pink teapot. Once it was clean, I grabbed the surprise animal crackers that were secretly hidden. My daughter gladly took the cookies and put them on her plate and set them on her tea table. I poured the boiling water over the mint tea bag,and then a few moments later into the teapot.
Then, with dresses and scarves on, we sit down. Addie assumed the responsibility of pouring the tea, “Would you like some tea?” she asks. I answer yes of course. Then, I offer her a dash of milk and she continues to ask for a dash and sometimes a splash of milk throughout the rest of our tea time. We drink tea, and nibble on cookies. Then, we refill our cups and begin again.
Once, when I offer her milk, I get a good glance into her eyes. I see a new look in her eyes. It was delight. Delight, that her mother was really truly there with her. I was present in that moment, with her. I almost broke down crying, seeing both her pleasure, and gratefulness in that one look.
Most of the time, I am trying to do three things at once. My most common response to my daughter when she asks me to do something is, to tell her to wait a minute or that I can when I finish “fill in the blank” task. She is very vocal with her requests throughout the day so it can feel like I am spending a lot of time with her. But, through this encounter, I realized she has not had a lot of focused quality Mommy time recently. I say maybe more than I say yes.
So, why on this day, was I able to give her focused time? The answer is, we were practicing Sabbath. For years the idea of a Sabbath has captured my heart. A whole day to rest? That was incredible. How to do it though, especially with kids, was a mystery. Then, at the beginning of August I read about a family and what they did for Sabbath. It answered my questions of when to grocery shop and clean, because that is what I usually did on Saturdays, our chosen day for Sabbath. The answer was to do them before the Sabbath, and that meant I actually scheduled to do them on Thursday and Friday respectively. With these objections out of the way, I felt encouraged to begin.
This morning it was our third Saturday practicing the Sabbath. It is something we have to practice because we won’t know what will work for us until we try. To be honest, I was not fully focused. Before this, we had had fun dancing, she was the ballet teacher and I was the student. She often moves from one thing to the next,so we moved onto the tea party. In my mind, I wanted to do yoga after our dance session. I had to tell myself I could wait because we did not have anywhere we needed to go. This we don’t have to rush anywhere Sabbath thing is still new to me too. But, without a doubt, from this experience having a time during the week where we can simply be with one another with no other agenda will be amazing. I am glad to be able to tell my kids and my husband and my God that I will rest with you on our Sabbath.
Back to the tea party. My girl slowly ate one cookie at a time. This is not normal. Anytime there is sugar in front of her, she eats it with abandon. She was treasuring this time, just as I was. The gift of connection with another human being is priceless. With your mother, even more so. Saying yes is a gift we can give to one another.