Cup of Tea

“Come sit with me and have a cup of tea.”

I was thinking about my mother the other day and how much I actually miss her since she passed away. The words above were her signal she had something to talk about and as I grew into an adult I would ask her to make tea so we could sit as I had something to talk about. What we talked about changed as did my reaction.

“Come sit with me and have a cup of tea.”

At 11, I was already rebellious and confused about my life. We had just moved to California. A new school was in store for me at the end of the school year. I was instantly insulted they put me into 5th grade. In Hawaii, we were done with school that year and I should have gone into 6th grade. Summertime was quick in coming and I did make one friend. The next school year started too soon and my friend didn’t like me anymore. It was a new school in the own over from where lived. I still talked funny I looked at life through a different pair of eyes than many other kids. I was studious, winning awards for my writing, being published in the local paper, but had no friends. I was lonely and scared and was constantly called names as I went down the hallway to the next class.

“Come sit with me and have a cup of tea.”

I had managed to make a friend or two during the three years of Middle School, but I was to go to a high school far from where they were going. I was no longer talking too funny, but my loneliness grew. I felt out of place again. My older sisters had moved on to college, their own apartments, marriages leaving me behind with mom and two siblings three years my junior. I found solace and acceptance in those on the fringe of high school society. I started to skip school, smoke, drink, drugs, leaving home, running away from myself figuratively and literally. You are who you hang with and I hung with people, an older crowd who was as messed up as I was. I used to hate to hear Mother’s invitation when had no clue how hard it was to be me with my teenage angst and fears. I wasn’t going to tell her because it seems I was always in trouble. She talked and I wished myself away.

“Come sit with me and have a cup of tea”

I got sober. Somehow I managed to keep myself alive long enough to stop the party. My infant daughter and I moved back to Moms house before the party ended and we continued to stay there as I learned how to become who I am. They say you quit growing when you first smoke that joint or take that drink and I believe it. I was emotionally a lost 13 years old. I went through so much to get clean and sober, learning what the feelings I tried to kill were, putting names to them. Discovering that the words joy, sadness, elation, despair were more than just adjectives, more than words we read in a book they were real things. I felt them.

“Come sit with me and have a cup of tea”

I met my husband. He wasn’t my type. He was very handsome but he wasn’t that big screen movie-star handsome. He wasn’t worried about appearances, he was more worried about character and truth. He was perfect for me. I did my best to chase him away, but he wouldn’t go. I was madly (still am) in love with him and we started our life together. He loved my daughter as he loved me and soon we had a son. I had moved from my mothers and she had to move to a friend’s house and then my brother’s houses. We moved from our first house to the recently deceased Grandmother’s house. It was big enough for the four of us. Mom moved in with us after a while, Sacramento and Little Brother’s lifestyle was not comfortable for her. We resumed our talks, but this time it was me talking to her. Telling her to be nicer to the kids and how to live life with all the confidence of a new adult.

“Come sit with me and have a cup of tea”

Over the years, my Mom lived with us and, sometimes, with other siblings. We sat and talked many times, hashing out problems, talking about the meanings of dreams, trying to understand other people’s ill behavior. I heard her more than one time invite my children as they grew older to sit with her. My mother and I held different opinions. Many things, politics, local policies, how to run the world, how to raise a child, were subjects that had the potential to be volatile, but rarely did. We finally were able to get Mom her own place. It was an “adult” village and shew as close to my sister. We would visit and talk on the phone. Slowly those things that seemed so important to me became not so much. We would talk about her worries and problems. We would talk about grandchildren and her flowers. Then one day she was gone. I miss her.

“Come sit with me and have a cup of tea”