Iced Strawberry Tea

“Can we have a tea party with the strawberry tea you made mama?” 

Elenour asked me as she came in from the back porch, her face glowing from a morning of playing outside. She tucked a strand of her beautiful long curly hair, the most beautiful shade of chocolate with sun bleached golden tips, behind her ear and looked up at me. 

“The iced strawberry tea?” I asked in a confused tone. Usually our, and almost ALL tea parties involve hot, or in our case “child warm“ tea. The girls had gotten a set of china matching teacups and teapots with birds and florals on each. We’d used them for a traditional tea party last week and the thought of using them with iced tea seem a bid odd. “ o k a y.” I said slowly. I went to get the teacup set and noticed my daughter picked up her new toy tin tea set they had gotten from my parents for Valentines day. “Can we use these ones?” Elenour said, with all sincerity that can come out of a big eyed little five-year-old who is reading the resistance in my eyes. I paused for a second, realizing this tea party request had gone way off the rails, we were no longer drinking hot tea in ceramic teacups but now drinking Iced tea in miniature tin play cups. Are those cups even food safe? The girls have been drinking water out of them all week while they were playing. Do I try and steer this train back on the tracks or just live on the edge? At least these teacups won’t shatter if they hit the bricked floor, I thought to myself. So I agreed to this tea party on her terms and asked them to set up their little picnic table and I would bring out the iced tea in my gallon sized mason jar. I scooped some of the little strawberry pieces into each of their little tin teacups and filled, and re-filled their comically small little teapot with the cold rose coloured sweet tea. Elenour served each of her sisters, filling up their cups before her own. And since the cups were so small, refills were requested and the teacup was filled up and poured out more times then I could count. I pulled over a chair to sit beside them since I was worried the purple plastic structure would buckle under my weight, and sipped my glass mug of tea along with them. I had opted out of the tin cups myself as I didn’t think I could even get my fingers into the toy tin handles properly. The girls were giggly, their joy bounced off their collective smiles like the Florida Sunshine reflecting off their faces. My idea of a tea party had been delicate teacups, tablecloths and trumpets, their idea of a tea party had been unconventional but sweet and simple. I pulled out my list of conversation questions I like to ask them, I first ask them if my mom’s dog, Caesar, could talk what they think he would say? “ BONE BONE BONE!” They cheer, “ I want food!” I laugh, “probably” I say, I add that I think he would tell different people that he loves them too. I ask them a second question, If a Genie could grant you 3 wishes what would they be? I first have to explain what a Genie and as I’m received with blank confused stairs, I respond with “never mind that, what would you wish, if you could wish for anything?” Willow smiles with her shoulder length auburn streaked curly bob bouncing in the wind, and answers very assuredly “ I’d wish for a unicorn, A unicorn that can fly and that can sing.” I try to explain that unicorns usually do fly and was going to ask her to come up with something that wasn’t a fictional creature, but after all Genies are also make-belief so I guess if a fictional Genie had fictional powers then Unicorns would be in his wheel-house. “How about you, Emery?” I say looking at the littlest guest to our tea party. Her blonde curls falling into her face as she smiled with a crooked like she always does before she’s about to say something she knows is funny. “ I want a flying flamingo! I want to drink with a flamingo!” That’s gross. I thought to myself. Definitely not interested in drinking with a flamingo or with any animal for that matter. I turn to Elenour asking her to answer and remove the thought of flamingo germs from my mind when she says “ I want to swim with narwhals!....... What?” She asked when she sees the expression on my face. “ Iunno, if I’d want to do that, I mean their kinda sharp, might be kinda pointy, I’d rather swim with dolphins.” Then I tell them the story of how I got to in Mexico when I was a kid. They’re intrigued, ask questions about what the dolphins felt like. 

I answer best I can between teapot refills before they ask me what I would wish for. “Well, I kinda have all I’d wish for,” I begin, smiling while I look at them in all their childhood creative glory. “ I have an amazing husband and…” “ AND, And FOUR beautiful girls!” Elenour interrupts with a knowing smile. It’s a smile that says you’re so predictable Mama, and that maybe to them my answer seems a little lame compared to unicorns, flamingos and narwhals. I add that I am also so thankful for my family and friends, and if I could, I would ask for a way I could bring anyone I wanted to visit us in Florida, like zap them in. They seem satisfied with my imaginative answer because anding childhood wonder is a lot like adding iced strawberry tea into tin teacups. Its unexpected, can get pretty messy but if you press in and play along, it can be sweeter then you expected. 


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