It is my girlfriends birthday and it is a big one. Parties, people flying in from out of town and new sequined cocktail dresses to be bought and worn. There were old friends of hers that I had never met, that were staying at her new gorgeous cottage. As her designated interior stylist I took up the request to tidy and re-arrange her home to a place that it felt moved into, as it was only 3 months lived in since she exited her long time relationship a little shaken and nervous and ready to write a new chapter.
So as part of my offering to her, I bought her some lovely little matching tea and sugar jars and topped them up with those silkened tea bags that are filled with delicious tea leaves like flowers wrapped in lace. My desire to have beauty surround me and those I love even extended to tea bags that day.
However when it came time for me to sit down at the end of my creative re-arrange and have a cup of tea, I found myself leaning into the cupboard to pull out the everyday tea bags. The ones in a box on the shelf and not in a pretty jar on the counter. Now old stories would tell that I was not feeling deserving of the luxury of silken bags of tea that day. Old stories would tell that I was self denying and undervaluing myself. Perception can be so wrong from the outside.
The everyday tea bag was far more beautiful and special to me in that moment and in many moments past for what it means to me.
To me, the every day tea bag is part of the sacred every day-ness that is our friendship. I am part of her food pantry that nourishes her as much as she, me.That in all the little every day moments from the first cup of tea together at Mothers group some 12 years ago, to this day, I have found a sanctuary of care, compassion and acceptance and booty kicking truth that is part of my heart, is part of my home.
The conversations spoken without words, tears and rage festivals about men and mothering and making it in the world with our hearts intact and more then intact, lit up like a fucking bonfire to blaze a trail called our lives, all take place over those cups of tea.
Cups of tea in cafés because being amongst dozens of strangers is sometimes the private place we can find to meet up.
Cups of tea in styrofoam cups at children’s birthday party upon birthday party as our children grow up in front of our eyes, like a nature documentary on speed forward.
The desperate cups of teas that take ages and ages to boil over the fire in the caravan park at the end of a long day, sand in pants from the beach with a gang of people, sometimes feeling like single mothers even when we were not. Other times feeling like part of huge tribe of love.
The cups of tea we made for each other when we couldn’t move from birthing, breastfeeding, injury or because the world had bashed the living wind out of our sails.
The cups of tea that she would sip at her end of the phone as I sipped on mine at the other end in the late hours, sorting out logistics for school holiday swaps, money crisis and how the world could do with a complete emotional closet clean.
The cups of tea when we would run away for solace and need something to cry our tears into and make out confessions to god over.
The cups of tea spilt everywhere when we laugh uncontrollably at each others dumb assed-ness in thinking small about our amazingness and smile at each others tiny little everyday wins.
The unconditional cup of tea that is made without having to ask, first thing in the morning.
The cups of tea that have outlasted busted hearts, career moves and dress sizes.
The cups of tea that a drunk with with her women; her sister, her mother, her cousins, her aunts that are my women now too.
The ordinary, everyday, not so glamourous cups of tea that are drenched in a beauty that blossoms deeper and deeper as she and we travel the road of womanhood.
So here is to the plain old ordinary deeply sacred, profoundly nourishing, cups of tea that have been pit stops along the way
and the ordinary cups of tea to come as a road map with
skim milk, but not too much
and don’t leave the tea bag in.