Yesterday I was out at a charity function, all dressed up and two glasses of champagne in, when I saw what every parent dreads: the babysitter’s number come up on my phone. “Ralph has hit his head and it’s a deep cut, I think he needs to go to hospital.”
An hour later, I sat next to a rather sorry-for-himself Ralph in the emergency department*, holding his little hand and nursing the babysitter’s blood-soaked scarf on my lap. And as the night descended outside, a very kind ED nurse brought me a cup of tea.
I had never tasted anything better in my life.
There is something magically fortifying about tea, I think. Especially in times of emotional stress. Tea is the liquid equivalent of a “you’ve got this” pep talk. It fills your body with warmth as it goes down, bringing parts of you back to life when you need to get moving or thinking (kind of in the same way that, in old adventure novels, people are given brandy or whiskey when they come in from the rain and cold or after discovering a murder victim. Except that in my case, that would probably put me to sleep). Tea is also permission to take a moment. To stop, to exhale, to remember these tiny moments of self-care.
Even when the tea is made from a teabag and served in a cardboard cup, and drunk in the paediatric area of a hospital emergency department.
That’s my tea story today - I imagine you have some, too, and I’d love to hear them! If you want to share with this community, tell me your tea story in the comments (if you’re reading this via email you just need to click on the blog post heading so you can view it in your browser to see comments).
I bet it would make a warming, fortifying read to have all of our tea-stories together. If we see enough stories, maybe I could make a little tea-inspired zine for you to download, with the stories and some illustrations like these I’ve included here, of the teacup and tea plant? What do you think? Does that appeal?
I’m off to put the kettle on.
* Ralph is fine. He was sent home with his cut all glued up, and his biggest challenge is remembering not to exert himself physically or mentally for a day or two.