Tea was a new substance, and it seemed to work — this calming my nerves. That cup was sort of my “initiation” into the grown up world of my mother’s. Where there were problems that could no longer be fixed with a band-aid.
My next cup of tea happened after my first car accident. It was over. No one was hurt.. but I couldn’t stop shaking, and thinking about “what could have happened.” Mom fixed me a cup of tea. This was my second cup. Delicious. Warm. Inviting… and calming.
I wonder if it was the tea that calmed me — or was it just my mom’s act of taking time to be present with me while we looked at the trauma, for just a little while, through a cup of tea.
I only drank tea at my mom’s, after a trauma. There were a few cups/traumas after that… and without even mentioning it, she would just bring me that warm cup whenever I needed one.
After I got married and had babies and trauma struck (like colic), I would instinctively call my mom, and she would simply tell me, from over the phone, to warm up the water and brew a cup of tea. I would drink it while we talked on the phone.
When tea, this “trauma elixir” became part of my routine, I am not sure. When did I make the conscious choice to make that magic potion a part of my everyday life? Was I afraid I would “wear out the magical effect” if I drink it every day?
Deep traumas came. My mom ceased to be around to brew the cup, or to even tell me to. I simply drew the water, and turned the burner on and waited for the water to get hot. “Just in case,” I said to myself, “the magic has worn off, and the tea doesn’t work to make things better, I’l just drink more tea.”
And drink more tea is exactly what I do. I drink lots of tea… to make things better.
My kitchen now holds a red hot tea kettle. It’s gorgeous and seductive. It’s so gorgeous my kids began to notice when I’m having tea — at all hours of the day. They want tea too. We pick out special flavors together. Right now, we’re hooked on orange/ginger tea. Our tea drawer is bursting, with half empty boxes, their bags spilling out everywhere in the drawer. So many loose tea bags, without a name. What are they? Do they have caffeine? The smell of each bag is still there, but faintly, all the tea flavors have melded, disguising its true origin.
I found this artist on Pinterest, Masha Ryskin. She has created a monoprint with tea…. Tea stories.
Can you imagine, if I had all of those tea bags I drank at all those defining moments of life, labeled with the date and time…. and the event? It would probably look like Masha’s monoprint.
My kids drink tea as a celebration. Their tea monoprint would look so different from mine. They have no idea about my past… about my mom making tea for “traumas.” But, now, they are rubbing off on me. I”m getting there too. Tea is becoming less about the drama/trauma. There’s always something to be celebrated… and that’s why we drink tea around here. I hope my mom doesn’t mind the change. I’m actually kind of glad I don’t have all of those saved teabag stories… Because it would just eventually be just one more thing to decide to throw out someday.