Food is love! This is a semi-joke quoted by a friend of mine who is a food nutrition counselor. Food was my grandmothers’ way of expressing love. And eating it was supposed to show love back. That message is still a battle for me (and for many.)
Tea is love?
“Aunt Becca, you make the best tea!”
Quotes from my wee nieces while we snuggle on the couch with rooibis chai while reading Zita the Spacegirl together. I intentionally put love in my tea. I think it makes a difference.
(I’m currently alone, having tea in an unfamiliar town and cafe. I walked in sweaty and exhausted asking for iced chai. They didn’t have that on the menu, but awkwardly made me one anyway. Then seated me in a little, empty room. I think they realized I needed some tea and quiet. Bless their young, twenty-something hearts.)
Sharing tea can be friendly or simply polite. I don’t think it carries the same baggage as food. Who cares if you finish your cup or pour another? Want sweetener? Milk? Extra hot? Iced? It can all be made to order, and only judgement from snobs. But making tea for others is a simple gift, and if refused, not a big deal either. Want some tea? Yes? Great! No? Don’t mind if I make one myself!
My daughter just started college, taking her electric kettle and a hefty stash of tea. She told me that she recently bonded with some people sharing her matcha. Good. Good.
(A family with wee ones just bounced into the room, but after a minute left to find a table outside. Was I giving off an unfriendly vibe? I think I need a refill...)
I recently had a fantasy involving a certain movie star wherein I won his heart with my superb tea and fine conversation. He’s British; it’s totally plausible! Of course, I was also a younger, detached self in the fantasy too. In reality, I didn’t get into tea until my late twenties, married with kids.
If I can delude myself into thinking that the only “issue” I’ve given my children is an equation that tea=love, that’s pretty darn good. A cheap, healthy way for them to feel at home, no matter where they are.
(Leaving the tea shop, I ran into my daughter and her friend at a table outside. “Mom! Of course we would both end up here.” They were enjoying iced-rooibis peach. I gave her a hug to go along with her tea, and left her to enjoy her friend’s conversation.)
Move with intention.