Thursday, May 21, 2009

Full Circle

"In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future."
Alex Haley

We’re staying at my parents’ beach-house this week, and I’m experiencing many, “full-circle,” moments.  The first occurred when Big Daddy-O, Pip, Crazybaby & I went for a morning walk on the beach.  Crazybaby was riding in the backpack on Big Daddy-O and I was helping Pip walk on logs.  I told her that, as kids, her aunt and uncle and I used to try to get all the way to Kitty Coleman Park only by walking on logs.  At that point I actually thought, “Whoa, when I was a skinny twelve-year-old leaping from log to precarious log, I had no idea that I’d be helping my wee daughter log-leap thirty years later on the very same stretch of beach.”  Glorious.

Another full-circle moment arrived during a tea-party with Pip.  My friend Wendy wrote a lovely piece about having tea with her grandmother, and it reminded me of the tea-parties my grandfather and I used to enjoy.  He would call me Mrs. Hefflefinger, speak with a British accent, and we’d have wonderful conversations, but we would only pretend to drink tea.  Wendy’s story inspired me to serve Pip real tea. (Heavy on the milk and sugar.)

Pip was beside herself with excitement.  We invited her two stuffed frogs to join us at the table, but we didn’t set tea-cups for them because Pip insisted that they were, “too young to drink real tea.”

I treated every part of the tea-making as a sacred ceremony: filling the kettle with water, pouring it into the tea pot over the two bags of tea, pinching the delicate little papers at the end of the tea-bag strings to perform a few critical dunks, and finally pouring the tea into our eager cups.  Pip chose a flowery cup with red tulips and I went with a short round mug that felt best when held with two hands.

The sound of tea being poured into a cup has to be one of the most soothing sounds in the world.  Wavelets on a beach, my daughters’ breathing when they’re asleep and the tea-pour; those might be my top-three soothing sounds right there.  Pip smiled when she tasted her warm beige drink.  “I like it Mama.”  I asked her if I could call her Mrs. Hefflefinger, but she said, “I’m Murray Mama,” so I called her Murray.  I did, however, launch into my best British accent with:

“I can safely say that this is the most delightful cup of tea that I have ever enjoyed, Murray.” 

And it was.