Selective Attention and Homemade Tea Bags

her pretend tea bags When I brew a cup of tea, Jenny runs over to stand next to my cup.  Her turned-up nose hovers over the steam as she inhales deeply.  She loves the smell of tea but isn’t fond of the taste.  She often asks if she can dunk my tea bag while she watches the hot water take on the soft yellow of Chamomile.  She likes knowing the color comes from flower petals.

I think she’s drawn to the ritual of the process.  She’s fascinated by the little envelopes that hold the dried leaves.  She likes the names of tea:  English Breakfast, Orange Pekoe, Honey Bush, Peppermint and Lemon Zinger.

And so she spent the better part of a sunny afternoon, sitting out on the patio with paper, embroidery floss, staples, tape and markers to make her own tea bags.  Her tea bags contained imaginary dried petals and herbs.

Will and I marveled at how much they looked like real tea bags.  Maybe these were tea bags for baby dolls.  They might be used for a party with imaginary friends.

Jenny served us up some “steaming hot tea” in pastel-colored cups with mismatched saucers.  Will asked for Peppermint.  I chose Earl Grey.

As we sipped, we noticed how much nicer it was to focus on Jenny’s homemade tea bags rather than the fact that their dad – who takes no interest in their schooling – had asked to borrow a book to read to elementary school kids across town.

Even imaginary tea from homemade tea bags soothes hurts, if you let it.


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  1. Tea has always been a comfort staple for me!!! I love how tea & a child’s imagination are always the right medicine for any ailment!!!

  2. Perhaps a dash of honey and a tea cookie would also help sweeten the party?

    …just don’t know what else to say….

  3. Unbelievable!!

    That was my first thought. Then I remembered how my sister and I felt when our parents showered attention on virtual strangers, but couldn’t be bothered with their grandchildren.

    Not so unbelievable after all )O:

  4. Donna,

    Seriously, I often offer them a treat to help ease the pain. And then this voice in my head says, “Nice job, Jesse. Why don’t you add Eating Disorder to their laundry list of issues.”

    But, geez, there has to be sweetness to offset the bitter. Trying to find the sweet in crafts for Jenn and golf and skiing for Will. It isn’t hard. ;)

  5. Meka,

    I still marvel at the resiliency of kids. I wonder if in some of us, by the time we reach adulthood, the resiliency muscle gets worn out.

  6. Pat,

    I’m finding there is not much that a narcissist can do that’s unbelievable.

    Sad, but true.

  7. She is a clever, talented girl. She also has a great mother who seems to be making up for the lack of a decent father in their lives.

  8. Meredith,

    Thanks. ;)

    Every day I feel lucky that they picked me to be their mom.

  9. Ugh. I am so sorry. Your kids are very lucky to have your love, and I know you feel the same to have their love.

    The more they can tell themselves that their father’s wiring is simply not set to love in a healthy way–the better. It still hurts and does not make it acceptable or right, but I hope they can see how he does things only to advance himself and only to improve the exterior image he wishes to have for the world to see.

    Hugs to all of you and prayers for healing.
    Take care . . .

  10. Lynn,

    I like the way you put that, “…wiring is simply not set to love in a healthy way…”

    It makes it easier to not be quite so angry with the whole thing.

    Thanks, Lynn. I hope you and yours enjoy a happy weekend.

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