Friday, August 24, 2012

A Tea Party For Lindsey

While Lindsey and Josh were at the hospital, I had offered a quiet sincerer prayer about how to facilitate quality time with Lindsey when she came home. There came a sense of urgency as we watched her physically decline in the hospital. I knew I wanted to do something special for her. I was reminded of a tea party club we had organized for Jessica and Lindsey when they were 10 and 11. We had included all the neighborhood girls and once a month we would take turns hosting a tea party in each of our homes. Each girl would bring a teddy bear, a doll, or a stuffed animal and the themes were organized and responsibilities divided amongst the mothers and daughters.

We started with a 1770 tea party featuring the revolutionary war. We played parlor games, listened to stories and made self portraits. Next we had a valentine’s tea party and made hair bows, talked about manners and how to pay a proper call when visiting. The next tea party we took a field trip to a doll museum and celebrated dolls made from different countries. The following month we had a good old fashioned southern tea party followed by a tea party honoring girls and women during the World War II era by having a talent show and learning how to do pin curls and make victory crowns. We even had a pioneer tea party and made pioneer crafts and handkerchief dolls.

The “tea parties” were organized so that we could learn about different women and different cultures from earlier times in history. Having the tea parties had another main purpose and that was to bring mothers and daughters together to strengthen us during our own time in history. Women have come together throughout history to draw upon each other’s strength during the good times and the bad times and they did this during “tea time”.

As we visited each time frame during our tea parties, we learned about women of courage who faced hard things and stood in their families as light bearers of grace and beauty. It seemed to offer an invitation to each of us as mothers that we do the same as women in this day and age. We also wanted to encourage our daughters to be light bearers of grace and beauty, in hopes that the legacy of strong women would be passed onto to our daughter’s daughters.

So in answer to my simple prayer, I had decided that we would have a tea party for Lindsey. All weekend I decorated the kitchen and the living room area with white lace draping from the light fixture above the kitchen table, straw hats, teddy bears, strings of pearls, paintings of flowers, pictures of the girls, pillows, dolls, stuffed animals and all the items you would see in a Victorian boutique. The table was covered in white lace with a collection of tea cups and saucers. Some had been passed down from grandmas on all different sides of the family. We had our best silverware, napkins, fresh flowers on the table, small muffins, cookies and of course, peppermint tea and honey.

There was a hot pink necklace for everyone as aunts, cousins, sisters, friends, grandmas, gathered to have a tea party with Lindsey. As everyone gathered I was reminded of Lindsey and her sister Jessica playing “tea party” all the time while they were growing up. Sometimes I would take the time to sit down and play with them. We would have so much fun playing with a miniature tea set and pouring pretend tea into the little cups. We would practice holding our little pinky out and pretending we were
royalty or something. It would all be very grand in our minds and our play created long lasting memories.

However, there are so many other times when I would be too busy to play, or so caught up in my adult world that I passed up wonderful opportunities to play with my girls. So in honor of the girl’s traditional tea parties, and in remembrance of our “tea party club”, we taking time have a tea party with Lindsey. She had come home Sunday afternoon after she had spent five days in the hospital with a new feeding device so everyone was gathering on Monday night. This grand tea party had been prepared Robinson/Victorian style.

As everyone was arriving, Josh picked up Lindsey and carried her downstairs, she was not quite herself these days. She offered a half smile as everyone greeted her, her cheeks puffy from the steroids, her eyes dark and distant. She joined us and we visited and laughed and talked. There seemed to be a hushed reverence about us. We all knew there wasn’t much time left with Lindsey and it felt good to be together in honor of her and her life but, also a little awkward.

I said some remarks and then everyone kind of took turns talking to Lindsey about the things they loved about her. Her eyes would light up as she made eye contact with the person talking. She would laugh when funny stories were recounted. Especially, when we were remembering some of the funny things she would do, like singing at the top of her lungs just to annoy all of us, or funny texts or phone messages that she would sing to us. She was always making up short jingles and putting them to music. She had always been so bubbly and full of life and now to see her light wilting was so sad.

We poured tea and ate cookies and muffins and towards the end of the party I passed out a few heirlooms that had been passed down to me from my mother’s mother to me. It seemed so out of place at this time in my life to be passing on some of the “treasures” and ceramic figurines that I had collected for the girls. I had envisioned me being quite older and all of us being together and the girls being able to pass on these treasures to their daughters. And now, that wouldn’t be happening for Lindsey.
Lindsey and Jessica had asked about these “pretty things” even as young girls. They were best friends and I couldn’t imagine them not being together when I passed out these treasures. I had promised both of them they would be able to have them when they grew up. So it was important that I follow through with this, with them both there and before Lindsey’s passing.

I tried not to cry as I read a beautiful analogy about tea cups and the process they go through to make them be so polished and colorful. It had been identified with the process of our own lives and how the heat of the fire refines our soul and helps us be polished and able to shine our true colors. I passed out the treasured tea cup sets that had been promised to each of the four daughters and to Hannah our daughter-in-law. There was a quiet hush as a few of us tried to hold back the tears.

I leaned over and kissed Lindsey on her bare forehead with a few extra kisses on her head. She wasn’t wearing hats anymore like she used to, to cover up her thinning hair or the scars on her head, she was fine coming to “tea” just as she was. It is so funny how hair, and makeup and what you wear seem to
have so much meaning in our lives and then after experiencing all this with Lindsey you discover that none of it really matters. Make-up, hair and clothes don’t really determine beauty.

Lindsey sat with us that day in her most lovely form. She had been stripped of almost all human dignity and yet she witnessed to all of us there that day that we are not our bodies that we are more than our bodies, because we could see her noble spirit showing us an undaunted spirit of courage and strength. And even though the flesh appeared weak, Lindsey’s spirit radiated glory and love to all of us in a beautiful way. Lindsey had become a woman that had done hard things and she had risen above her circumstances with faith and courage as she stood as a light bearer of grace and beauty. That day I was so proud of her!! I love you Lindsey. Your legacy lives on in all the lives you have touched. I hope they have tea parties in heaven.

1 comment:

Ginger Carpenter said...


When backed up against the wall of faith, you have stepped forward unshaken, holding the light high for others to follow: truly a light bearer of grace & beauty, of honesty & faith.
xoxo Ginger