Monday, October 4, 2010

The Things My Mother {and Father} Left Me

Tea Cups

{Photo from designer John Lumbus,}

This version of "The Things My Mother Left Me" is kind of special because it includes something from my dad too! I'll start by saying that the topic is tea cups because of my mom. When I was little a HUGE part of my childhood was my tea set collection. That's right, I said it...I had a tea set collection, so what? Well, my mom was a big fan of bringing home little treasures for me in the form of tea sets. I never knew where she got them or why she got them for me, but I knew that I loved it. She always seemed to know when I really needed a cheer-me-up tea set or a rainy day tea party. I had little tea sets with bears on them, birds on them, flowers, rabbits; I even had one where the bears were the tea cups and pot themselves (that one was a little morbid seeing as how you had to take the bear head off to turn it into a tea cup). Anyway, the point is that I am the girly-girl that I am today (well, the part of me that acts like a lady sometimes) due to my porcelain pretend parties with my mom.

I will admit that I loved circling my stuffed animals around the table for our parties. Yes there were doilies there and miniature marshmallows and teddy grahams as the treats. I'm pretty sure I wasn't allowed to have anything but water in the cups on top of my mother's table cloth or carpet, but it didn't matter to me anyway. For me, even though my parents both worked full time and I spent a lot of time entertaining myself as my older brother and sister went off to do cool things without me, tea parties seemed to make up for the solo time. 

I am proud to say that I still have my first tea set that my mom EVER gave to me. It's missing a lot of parts, has chips and is stained on the inside, but it has so many memories that are better than perfect condition. I can literally say that one of my first memories is crouching down on the floor of our old apartment with my sister playing with all of the little parts to this set (and I think breaking one of the first pieces as well oops).

Here are some pictures of what I think is one of the most beautiful, partial tea sets in the world.

Any time I see that pattern now, I have great memories to go along with it.

So I haven't talked about my dad yet. How does all of this girly-ness tie in with my rugged, masculine, tough, not-in-any-way-at-all-a-wuss dad (don't worry dad, I've got your back ;)? Well a few years ago I was helping my mom move some stuff around the house and we came across some old tea cups. My dad listened in on our conversation from the other room as I told my mom that "one of my favorite sounds in the world is when a tea cup is set into a saucer." Little did I know that my dad was making a mental note.

Some time went by and after a few months Christmas rolled around. As we gathered around the tree with my parents, my dad grabbed a special box from under the tree and handed it to me. Not really knowing what to think, because honestly my dad is not the super sentimental type, I carefully unwrapped the package. Inside was a note that explained how he had heard our conversation and that he had gone on his own to an antique store and picked out the two tea cups in the box before me. He explained that he had bought them in hopes of always being able to have a cup of tea (or in his case, Diet Coke) with me-no matter how old I got or how much changed. 

I really did have a hard time holding back tears on this one, and still do when I think about it sometimes. My dad and my family have been through a lot, and it's not often that I get messages that heartfelt from my father. I feel like I have a connection (even though it's through physical objects) with both of my parents now, that is different and special and memorable. 

Here are some pictures of the tea cups that my dad gave to me.

One year I was moving some things in my room and something fell and hit one of them, taking a chunk out of the inside of it. I was devastated until I made a new connection. My dad has a great catch-phrase, "everyone walks with a limp, some you see and some you don't," basically saying, we are all damaged to some degree and some of us hide it better than others. I look at the damaged tea cup in a different way now-it is just one more reminder of my dad and a lesson that he has taught me. I love the tea cup a little bit more now and it's funny because you can't see the large hole in the bottom of it in the pictures. It may not be good to drink tea from anymore, but it still looks pretty from some angles. It really makes me stop and think... :)

Thanks mom, {and dad}


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Anonymous Iz said...  

Cute and very sentimental.

Blogger Elaine said...  

Um, what does one say, this is the most beautiful tribute ever. Thank you Kelsey for all the times you pondered, cherished and tucked away the memories. Pulling them out now is something just shy of magical. Thank you for the gift of a re-lived memory.

Anonymous DJ Bates said...  

Beautifully written, a great tribute to memories, things that make us smile and tea parties. We should all have a tea party in November... maybe we should have the guys serve us our tea?

Blogger RooFresh said...  

Thanks guys! I had fun writing this one.

Blogger ohsonoko said...  

LOved this post. Made me a little teary but in such a good way.

Blogger RooFresh said...  

I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

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