Motherhood is like a cup of tea

Get out the gloves and nice dresses.

My daughter and I are heading to high tea at a fancy schmancy hotel.

It’s what we do each year to celebrate the anniversary of our adoption.

And I do mean our adoption, as she was 11 when we met, 13 when I married her dad. And 14 when the judge made legal what was already long official in both our hearts.

When a kid is a certain age, she has to sign a paper saying she’s adopting me as much as I’m adopting her.

So we celebrate!

Going to tea is perfect because it’s a delicious treat and our special time.

Between you and me, Dear Reader, it also represents so much I’ve learned about motherhood.

Earl Grey, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Chamomille. There are so many teas to choose from just like there are so many ways to become a mother. Do It Yourself, Surrogate, Adopt. I would’ve never believed it if you told me this would be my path. Now I wouldn’t have it any other way. How boring if everyone only drank Lipton’s.

Certain teas, like life, can be bitter and hard to swallow. My daughter losing her first mom when she was 8 years old was tragic. Then, along comes me, our chapter, like adding some milk and sugar to a bitter brew. I never forget that my daughter’s childhood is a mix of two moms, the greatest of losses, a dash of hope of happiness.

You might’ve warned me that motherhood would be like a constant steady drip of caffeine, like an IV tube of tea. You just don’t sleep the same when you’re a mom. A cough, a stir and I’ll hear it.

High tea, when done properly, is served in courses: tea, finger sandwiches, scones, followed by pastries.

Life is like this, as well. With all due respect to women who try to do it all at the same time — high-powered career, marriage and motherhood, I know I don’t have it in me.

The career that once ruled all aspects of my life is now scaled back. I imagine I’ll ramp up again when Daughter is launched.

Just like I wouldn’t want to shove tea, sandwich, scone and pastry in my mouth at once, I’m liking this path of enjoying each bite in its time.

Tea reminds me to let my daughter find her own brew, her own recipe for her life. I sure didn’t have this life thing down when I was a teenager. I might offer some guidance, a recipe for success, but Daughter has to have space to figure it out for herself, even when that means brewing up some doozies of failures and mistakes.

The hardest part of this motherhood thing? It’s not like tea at all. It goes too fast. It’s more like zooming through a fast-food restaurant.

I’m going to blink and it’ll be time to get the gloves and dresses out again.

Here’s to the sips of joy, tears, aggravation and wisdom between now and then.