A Cup of Tea
I’m not a tea drinker. Not because I don’t enjoy it, but simply because it makes my stomach churn in funny ways after the pleasure dissipates. But I’ve always built something romantic in my head around the idea of tea-drinking – something soothing, comforting, English, proper, and nurturing.
For the last five months, since we’ve moved to our home, every moment – and I mean, every single moment – seems to have been that breath of tea-drinking romanticism I’ve built in my head.
There is so much to be thankful for – including the down bits – and so much to treasure.
For starters, we lost our previous helper at a time when we really needed her. Looking back, I can’t say for sure how I got through packing, unpacking, taking care of Matthew, cooking and cleaning, while riding all the fatigue that accompanied my pregnancy. In no way am I implying that I was a Wonder Woman. What I’m saying in fact, is that I’ve never done those things in my life. But I got through it.
(I can’t say for sure how Augz managed to put up with my cooking and still affirm me with every dish served, cold and tasteless, or dry and way too salty. Or how he could have put up with a wife who was less than nice-looking, probably extra pale and extremely tired everyday. But he got through it.)
To be honest, a lot of that determination initially stemmed from pride – it was from having been told in my entire lifetime, that I would not be able to do it, that drove me to make sure I could.
But God definitely played peekaboo with me everyday. He reminded me to remember Him in the most unlikely of times, that is, when I was on the brink of a meltdown in the face of Matthew’s tantrums. And that did happen. There were many times when I took a breather just to say an “Our Father” that really didn’t change anything except to calm me down so I could better manage my little prince.
I started cooking. Like, for real. I cooked three meals a day – lunch for Matthew and myself, dinner for Matthew and dinner for Augz and I. It really wasn’t easy, for one who didn’t have to cook – and didn’t care much for proper food – to be that conscientious about our meals. It wasn’t easy also because I had to cook with Matthew in tow, and dinner for Augz and I were mostly cooked after I put Matt to sleep. But it happened.
Before I start celebrating all my little victories, the point of it all, is to emphasise on how difficult those five months were, without me realising it at that point, because of the little cups of tea that were served along the way, everyday.
I had an angel drop by to visit once a week. Consistently, without fail, come rain or shine, and I’m sure, she would have shown up at my door especially if there was snow or storm. That kept me sane in more ways than one. She was the only other adult I could actually have a conversation with, since I left my job. And on the other six days that she wasn’t at my place, she was on my whatsapp chat, checking in on me like never before. Our friendship has run deep over the years, but built on a we-exchange-a-million-stories-when-we-meet but otherwise, contact-only-when-there’s-an-emergency basis. This is much, much better.
Then there were other visitors who came by – to drop off cakes, brownies, to catch up… Chilling out was never just chilling out – they all came to make sure Matthew and I were okay, in their own non-intrusive ways. One came limping with an injury, some came on their precious days-off from work. Every single visit was a hello that God said to me, through their presence. It did not go unappreciated. Nor forgotten.
Lastly, I need to make known that the last five months have been exceptionally grace-filled for me. I learnt to appreciate the little God moments of everyday – it’s a practice we adopt at Landings, the ministry I’m involved in, with a focus of bringing away Catholics back to Church. I think I started being more aware as a measure of staying sane because being at home alone can make one’s world a lot smaller, and perspectives a lot narrower. Once I settled down to the routine of managing housework and child, I found it exceptionally helpful to sneak in Flipboard time, through which nursed the spiritual aspect of me back into health. Through Oprah. Yes, Oprah. Again, Oprah.
When faith is complemented by spirituality (even the kind that’s non-religious), a person can really become that bit more whole. I say, whole, not wholesome, cos I don’t claim to be wholesome, but I have definitely found more peace in the last five months than I have in the events that have unfolded in my life in the last five years. I’ve laid to rest a lot of anger that had dominated my life without my even realising it.
The most amazing thing is that not once did I feel defeated, hopeless, or depressed. The days passed by surprisingly quick and by night times, I’m just filled with so much gratification of another day well spent. I was tired, definitely, but I had stopped wondering if I’m fulfilling what I ought to be doing in life, a question I used to ask myself at night at the end of a workday.
Of course, I’m fully aware of just how blessed I am, to be able to stay at home with my child, to have a helper now, and not exactly live in poverty either. Well, we’re not living in the lap of luxury for sure. We’ve cut back on a lot of niceties and comforts – a lot, if not all of them – but we know we’re still a lot more fortunate than many others. Very, very, exceptionally aware of that. Something I’ll cover in a separate post.
All in all, I am very thankful for all the blessings we’ve encountered in our lives, just in the last five months alone. You’ve been nourishing, life-giving, so nice and fragrant and altogether, so, so soothing and warm and comforting at a time when we most needed our refreshment.
For all the patience that our friends have borne us when we have been unavailable and unable to be present, for all the unconditional love that have been showered upon us, the quiet support and silent prayers said on our behalf, we owe a debt we cannot repay except with the hope that we too, can be that cup of tea for you all sometimes, along the way in life.